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Pictorial -Field Book of the Jievolution,^^ " T7te War of 1812 " a)id " The Civil War in America; 

" Mount Vernon ; or, the Home of Wasfiiiigton ; " ^^Illustrated IIistoi-y of the United States : " 

" Cyclopedia of United States History;" " Our Country;" ^^ History of the City 

of New York;" ^^ Sto)-y of the United States Navy, for Boys ;" 

"Mary and Martha Washington," etc., etc. 


By Fao-similea of 335 Pen-anl-Ink Drawings 
By H. ROSA. 

Nkw York: 

FUNK & WAGNALLS, Publishers, 

i8 and 20 Astor Place. 



Entered, accordins; to Act of Congress, in the year 1887, 


In the Office of the Librarian of Comiress at Washington, I). C. 

PRKnn or 

18 mid 20 Astor I'laoe, 



Several years ago the autlior of this work received a letter from the 
late Hon. Horatio Seymour, urging him to supply a conspicuous literary 
want by writing a compendious history of the State of New York, and 
illustrating it after the manner of his Pictorial Field-Booh of the Revo- 
lution. No work of the kind was then in existence, nor has there been 

It has been the chief aim of the author, in the jireparation of this 
work, to embody in one volume, of moderate size and price, a complete 
outline narrative of the principal events in the career of the Conmion- 
wealth of New York from its inception to the close of the first century 
of our Republic (1875), so compact, as a whole, that its purchase and 
perusal will not burden the purses or the leisure of a vast proportion of 
our people. 

As much space has been given to notices of historic events outside of 
the State of New York as seemed necessary to continually present the 
Commonwealth to the mind of the reader as a most important part of 
the great Republic of the West. 

The volume contains a brief history of the powerful barbarian republic 
found by Europeans within the boundaries of the (present) State of 
New York ; a narrative of the explorations, emigrations, and settle- 
ments of the Dutch, Swedes, and English in New Netherland ; of the 
Indian wars and desolations ; an account of the religious, social, and 
political organizations under Dutch rule ; of the patroon and manorial 
estates planted along the tide-water region of the Hudson River ; of 
the seizure and occupation of the domain by the English ; of the devel- 
opment of democracy at every period of the English rule, with notices 
of the most interesting events in the political, social, and military history 
of the Province and State down to the kindling of the old war for 
independence and to its close ; the organization of the State government 
in 1777 ; the ever-dominating influence of the State in the national 
councils ; its political, social, and military history as an independent 
State ; its part in the drama of the War of 1812-15 ; its munificent 



contributions of men and money during the great struggle for the salva- 
tion of the life of the Republic ; the various changes in its constitution ; 
notices of the vast industrial operations in the State ; its canals and rail- 
ways ; its agriculture, manufactures, and commerce ; its admirable popu- 
lar educational system ; its literature, and its marvellous growth in. 
population, wealth, and reiineTnent, with biographical sketches of some 
of the most prominent actors in public life, from Stuyvesant to Tilden. 

Portraiture is made a jjrominent feature in the graphic illustrations 
of the work, for we all desire to see the lineaments of the faces of those 
whose careers interest us. The book contains the portraits of many of 
the most conspicuous men of New York mentioned in its colonial and 
State annals, with a brief biography of each. Among them may be 
found tlie portraits and biograpiiical sketches of all the governors of the 
State, from George Clinton, its first chief magistrate in 1777, until 1876. 
Also pictures of numerous buildings in the State which have been made 
famous by some historical association. A greater portion of these build- 
ings have been made from drawings by the author from the objects 
themselves. It also contains a delineation of the seal of every county 
in the State. The illustrations have been made under the j^ersonal 
guidance of the author, whose special care was to insure accuracy in 
form, feature, and costume. 

Benson J. Lossing, 

TuE Ridge, Dovek Plains, N. Y., October, 1887. 



What constitutes New York "The Empire State," 1, 3; Niagara Falls, 2; The 
Iroquois Confederacy or League, 3-10 ; Henry Hudson and his exploration and dis- 
coveries, 10-13 ; Claims for Verazzaao, 11 ; Names of the Hudson River, 13. 


Fate of Henry Hudson ; Fruits of his discoveries ; Traffic with the Indians opened, 
14 ; Planting the seed of empire ; First vessel built on Manhattan Island ; Fort Nassau, 
on the Upix;r Hudson ; Adriaen Block, a Dutch navigator, 15 ; A trading company 
formed, 16, 17 ; Champlain and the Iroquois, 18 ; The Dutch make a treaty with the 
Indians at Tawasentha, 19 ; Social condition of Holland, 20, 21 ; English Puritans pro- 
pose to go to New Netherland, 21, 22 ; Dutch West India Company formed, 22, 23 ; 
An English mariner at Manhattan, 23 ; The Pilgrims at Cape Cod ; The Dutch prepare 
to plant a colony, 24 ; Walloons emigrate to New Netherland, 25 ; A French vessel at 
Manhattan, 26 ; Dutch settlements in New Netherland, 26, 27 ; Peter Minuit director- 
general ; Purchase of Manhattan Island, 27 ; New Netherland created a province, 28. 


Fort Amsterdam and a trading-house built ; The beginning of the city of New York ; 
Robbery and murder of an Indian, 29 ; Trouble with the Mohawks and its effects ; 
Capture of the Spanish "silver fleet" by the Dutch, 30; Charter of Privileges and 
Exemption, the patroon system, 31 ; Early patroons ; The Van Rensselaer Manor, 32 ; 
David Pietersen de Vries founds a colony on Delaware Bay, 33 ; Governor Walter 
van Twiller and his administration, 33, 34 ; First clergyman and schoolmaster in New 
Netherland ; The first English ship in the Hudson River, 34 ; Van Twiller's absurd 
conduct, 35, 36 ; The Dutch and English in the valley of the Connecticut, 35, 38 ; Van 
Twiller recalled, 38 ; William Kieft Governor of New Netherland, 39 ; Condition of 
public affairs, 40 ; Swedes on the Delaware, 41 ; Trouble with Eastern neighbors and 
the Indians, 42 ; Impending war with the Indians, 43. 


A new charter for patroons and other landed proprietors ; Colonic of Rensselaer- 
wyck ; Arendt van Curler, commissary, 44 ; Power exercised by Patroon van Rensselaer, 
45 ; First clergyman and church at Albany ; A Jesuit missionary and his career among 
the Mohawks ; First germ of representative government in New Netherland, 46, 47 ; 
Committee of Twelve, 47 ; Destruction of Indians who sought the hospitality of the 
Dutch, 48 ; A fierce war kindled, and its consequences, 49, 50 ; The Council of Eight 
Men, 49, and their memorial to the States-General, 50, 51 ; Condition of the Dutch West 


India Company, 51 ; Now Sweden, 52 ; Treaty of peace with the Indians ; Dominie Bo- 
gardus's boldness, 52 ; Departure of Kieft ; Change in the mode of government ; Peter 
Stuyvesant appointed governor, 53 ; Arrival of Stuyvesant and Iiis reception, 54 ; Stuy- 
vesant's administration, 55, 56 ; The Committee of Nine. 56 ; Overtures of friendship 
with the "Pilgrims" in the East, 56, 57 ; Dutch embassy to New Plymouth, 57. 


CoHferene(i of Dutch and English at Hartford and its results, 58 ; Affairs Ijetween the 
Dutch and the Swedes on the Delaware ; Improvements at the Dutch capital, 59 ; 
Brandt van Slechtenhorst, commissary of Rensselaerwyck, defies Stuyvesant, 60 ; 
Stuyvesant and the Council of Nine, 61 ; Statement of the Nine to the SUites-General ; 
New Amsterdam organized as a city, 62 ; Stuyvesjint summoned to Amsterdam, 63 ; 
The Dutch and New Englanders fraternize ; Keiiublicanism nourished ; A represent- 
ative assembly and the governor, 64 ; A convention remonstrates against his rule. 
65 ; Interview between Stuyvesant and Beeckmau and the convention ; Doings of the 
Swedes on the Delaware, 66; Conquest of New Sweden, 67; New^ Amsterdam invaded 
by Indians, 67, 68 ; Estates ravaged ; Trouble with Indians at Esopus ; Dutch mission 
to Maryland, 68 ; New Amsterdam and Harlem, 69 ; Social life on Manhattan, 70. 


State tricks ; Stuyvesant and the Quakers, 71 ; Colony of Mennonites, 71, 72 ; New 
Amstel founded, 72 ; Trouble with Indians at Esopus, 72, 73 ; Secession and revolution 
on Long Island, 73 ; A General Provincial Assembly ; Seizure of New Netherland by 
the English contemplated, 74 ; A British force before New Amsterdam, 75 ; Rebellion 
in the city threatened, 76, 77 ; Surrender of New Amsterdam to the English ; The 
province and city named New York, 78 ; The Dutch rule in New Netherland, 79 ; 
Social life at New Amsterdam, 80, 81 ; Character of the Dutch, 81, 82 ; Stuyvesant and 
the Dutch West India Company, 82. 


Provincial goveriunent for New York organized ; Public woi'ship at New York, 84 ; 
English rule at New York, 85-87 ; Duke's laws, 85 ; Municipal government for the 
city, 85, 86 ; New Jersey granted to royal favorites, 86 ^ The Dutch retake New York, 
88, 89 ; Restored to the British crown by treaty, 90 ; The Jesuits among the Iroquois, 
90 ; French ijitrigues with tlu; Iroquois unsuccessful, 91 ; Characters of Governor 
Andros and the Duke of York, 92 ; Administration of Andros ; King Philip's War, 93 ; 
An important royal marriage ; Affairs in New Jersey, 94 ; A claim to Staten Island, 95. 


First popular government for New York, 96, 97 ; (^barter of Liberties and Privileges, 
97 ; Political divisions of New York, 97, 98 ; Dongan's administration, 99, 100 ; Designs 
of the French against the Five Nations of the Iroquois, 100; Pertidy of King James; 
Dongan's i)atriolism, 101, 102 ; De Nonville's expedition, 102, 103 ; " Dominion of New 
England ;" Birth of an heir to the British throne, 103 ; Revolution in England, 104 ; 
Effect of the revolution in New York, 105 ; Leisler's administration of affairs, 106-112 ; 
Affairs at Albany, 108 ; Conspiracy against the lifi' of Leisler successful, 112 : Remorse 
and death of Governor Sloiighter, 118. 



Invasion of New York by French and Indians ; Destruction of Schenectady, 114 ; 
Provincial expeditions against the French in Canada, 115 ; Failure of these expeditions, 
116 ; Arrival and character of Governor Fletcher ; Popular opposition to Fletcher, 117 ; 
Invasion by the French led by Frontenac, 118, 119 ; Fletcher's administration, 119, 120 ; 
Appointment :ind character of Governor Bellomont ; Privateering, 121 ; Captain Kidd 
and piracy, 122 ; Bellomont's administration, 122-26 ; Leislerians and Anti-Leisle- 
rians, 123, 124 ; The French in Canada hostile to the Iroquois ; Bellomont defends the 
latter, 123, 124 ; Reinterment of Leisler's remains, 124 ; The Assembly change politi- 
cally ; Fletcher's fraudulent land grants, 125, 126 ; Death of Bellomont, 126. 


Defences against the French strengthened, 128 ; Leislerians control the government, 
128, 129 ; Contests with Assembly ; Lord Cornbury governor, 129 ; Nicholas 
Bayard and his fate, 130 ; Cornbury's character and conduct, 131, 132 ; Queen Anne's 
War, 132 ; Governor Lovelace, 133 ; Attempt to conquer Canada, 134 ; Peter Schuyler 
takes Indians to England, 135 ; Naval expedition against Quebec, 136 ; Governor Hunter 
and his administration, 137, 138 ; Emigration of Germans to New York ; The United 
Six Nations, 137 ; First Negro Plot, 138 ; Governor Burnet and his administration, 139, 
140 ; Inter-colonial traflic prohibited, 140 ; Governor Montgomery's short administra- 
tion, 141, 142 ; Boundary line between New York and Connecticut settled ; Governor 
Cosby and his character, 142 ; Cosby 's contest with Rip Van Dam, 143 ; Liberty of the 
press struggled for and vindicated, 143-147 ; Zenger's trial, 145-147 ; A popular 
triumph, 147. 


Social condition of the province of New York, 148, and the city of New York, 149, 
150 ; Aspects of social life at Albany, 151 ; Lieutenant-Governor Clark, 152 ; The sec- 
ond Negro Plot, 152, 153 ; A victim of perjury, 154 ; Governor Sir George Clinton and 
bis administration, 154-59 ; King George's War, 155 ; Surrender of Louisburg and 
Cape Breton to the English ; Saratoga desolated by French and Indians, 156 ; Prepa- 
rations to conquer the French dominions in America ; William Johnson and the 
Mohawks, 157 ; Rancorous party strife prevalent ; Political influence of James de 
Lancey, 158 ; Governor Sir Danvers Osborne, suicide of, 159 ; De Lancey acting gov- 
ernor of New York ; Governor Sir Charles Hardy ; French Jesuits and their influence, 

160 ; Aggressive movements of the French in the West ; ColoniaJ convention at Albany. 

161 ; Hostilities between the French and English begun, 162 ; Conference of governors 
with General Braddock, 163. 


Expeditions against the Fi-ench begun, 164 ; General Lyman and General Johnson, 
165-167 ; King Hendrick, 165, 166 ; A battle near Lake George ; The French defeated 
at Lake George, 166 ; Expedition against Forts Niagara and Frontenac unsuccessful ; 
Great Britain declares war against France, and prepares for the conflict, 167 ; The 
Seven Years' or French and Indian War, 167-184 ; Abercrombie's tardy movements ; 
Bradstreet's efficiency ; Montcalm's operations, 168 ; Lord Loudon's inefficiency illus- 
trated, 169, 170 ; Invasion of New York by French and Indians, 170 ; Capture of Fort 
William Henry, 171 ; A massacre of English troops ; Pitt prime-minister, 172 ; His 
policy in American affairs ; British conquests, 173 ; Expedition against Ticonderoga, 


174 ; English repulsed. 175 ; Fort Frontenac taken ; Expedition against Fort Duqucsne 
successful, 176, 177. 


A final struggle for the mastery ; Pitt's work, 178 ; Expeditions against Quebec, Fort 
Niagara, and Montreal, 179 ; Capture of Fort Niagara, 179, 180 ; The French driven 
from Lake Champlain, 180 ; Capture of Quebec, 181, 183 ; Conquest of Canada, 184; 
France stripped of her possessions in America by treaty at Paris, 185 ; Pontiac's 
conspiracy ; Civil affairs in New York, 186 ; Important social movements in New 
York, 187 ; Institutions for intellectual cultivation founded ; A sectarian controversy, 
188 ; Dr. Colden acting governor ; An arbitrary royal act, 189 ; Disputes about the 
New Hampshire Grants, 189-191. 


Accession of George III., 192 ; His great mistake, 193 ; Governor Monckton, 192, 193 ; 
Governor Moore and the king's prerogative, 193 ; Writs of Assistance and the Stamp 
Act, 194 ; Opposition to the Stamp Act, 194-197 ; " Sons of Liberty," 195 ; Stamp Act 
Congress at New York ; A riot, 196 ; Non-importation league, 197, 198 ; Repeal of the 
Stamp Act and its effects, 199 ; Troops sent to enslave the New Yorkers, 200 ; Oppres- 
sive acts of Parliament, 201 ; Open rebellion imminent ; The Boston massacre, 203 ; 
Popular committees and patriotic movements, 203 ; Excitement about tea, 204, 205 ; 
Boston Tea Party, 205, 207 ; A general Congress recommended, 207 ; Great meeting in 
" The Fields," 208 ; Delegates to a General Congress appointed, 209. 


Committees of Correspondence ; First Continental Congress, 210 ; Its proceedings 
and effects, 211, 212 ; The American Association, 211 ; Committee to carry it into 
execution, 212 ; An American episcopate proposed ; The New York Assembly, 213 ; 
Doings of the Assembly, 214 ; The people aroused, 215 ; New York Provincial Con- 
gress, 216, 217 ; Committee of One Hundred, 217 ; Capture of Fort Ticonderoga by the 
Americans, 218 ; The functions of Congress considered, 219 ; General Wooster with 
troops near New York ; Reception of Washington and Governor Tryon, 220 ; Political 
complexion of the Provincial Congress, 221 ; Northern MiliUiry Department ; Affairs 
on Lake Champlain, and the Canadians ; The first Continental Navy created, 222 ; 
Ethan Allen and his " Green Mountain Boys ;" General Schuyler authorized to invade 
Canada, 223. 


The Johnson Family, 224 ; Guy Johnson and Indian councils, 225, 226 ; British 
coalition with Indians and Tories ; Invasion of Canada begun, 227-229 ; New Yorkers 
complained of ; A mission to the Canadians, 228 ; St. Johns and Montreal taken, 229 ; 
Siege of Quebec, 230, 231 ; Schuyler and Sir John Johnson, 231 ; Cannons removed 
from the Battery at New York, 232 ; Sears's raid on Rivington's printing-house, 233 ; 
General Lee with troops in New York City ; Siege of Boston. 234 ; Plot to murder 
Washington, 235, 236 ; Washington's Life Guard, 235 ; Thomas Paine, in Common 
Sense, advocates political independence. 236 ; Congress and colonial legislators advo- 
cate independence, 237 ; Change in the New York Provincial Congress ; A capital plan 
of the British Ministry. 238 ; Commissioners sent to Canada, 239 ; End of the invasion 
of Canada ; Sir John Johnson and his parole of honor, 240 ; Flees to Canada ; Lady 
Johnson taken to Albany, 241. 



A strong British armament appears before New York ; Mission of General and Ad- 
miral Howe, 243 ; Washington's successful appeal to the people ; Preparations for 
battle, 243 ; Battle of Long Island, 244, 245 ; The famous retreat of the Americans 
from Brooklyn, 245 ; A peace conference ; Condition of the American Army, 246 ; The 
Americans on Harlem Heights ; Battle on Harlem Plains ; Conflagration in New York 
City, 247 ; Battle at White Plains, 248 ; The British capture Fort Washington, 248, 249 ; 
Prisons and prison-ships, 249 ; The British occupy New York City ; Preparations to 
invade Nortliern New York, 250 ; Naval operations on Lake Champlain, 251, 252 ; 
Creation of a navy, 252 ; Flight of the American Army across New Jersey ; Americans 
victorious at Trenton, 254 ; Battle at Princeton, 255. 


Migration of the Provincial Congress ; Convention of representatives of the State 
of New York, 256, 257 ; Framing a State Constitution and its adoption, 257, 258 ; Jay's 
desires concerning the Constitution, 258, 259 ; Character of the Constitution, 259, 260 ; 
A Council of Safety appointed, 260 ; A Vigilance Committee appointed ; An Act of 
Attainder, and the victim of it, 262 ; State officers chosen, 260-262 ; First meeting of the 
State Legislature, 262 ; Preparation to invade New York, 263 ; Burgoyne's campaign, 
264-282 ; Marauding expeditions ; Baron de Riedesel, 264 ; In'dians feasted ; Ticonde- 
roga ; Burgoyne's proclamation, 265 ; Fort Ticonderoga captured, 266 ; Battle of 
Hubbardton ; The British forces push toward the Hudson River, 267 ; Schuyler's proc- 
lamation ; The Jane McCrea tragedy, 268 ; British expedition to Bennington ; Burgoyne's 
perilous position. 


St. Leger's invasion ; Fort Schuyler, 270 ; Battle at Oriskany, 271 ; Siege of Fort 
Schuyler, 272 ; Fort Schuyler relieved, 273 ; Burgoyne perplexed ; Gates supersedes 
Schuyler in command, 274 ; Burgoyne's army moves forward ; Battle on Bemis's 
Heights, 275 ; General Arnold in the battle ; Petty jealousy of the opposing command- 
ers, 276 : Wretched condition of Burgoyne's army ; A council of war, 277 ; Second 
battle on Bemis's Heights, 278-280 ; Bravery of Arnold, who really won the victory, 
279, 280 ; Burgoyne retreats to the Heights of Saratoga, and surrenders, 281 ; The sur- 
rendered troops paroled, but detained in America ; Effects of the surrender of Burgoyne, 


The British under Sir Henry Clinton capture Stony Point, 283 ; They capture Forts 
Montgomery and Clinton, in the Hudson Highlands, 284 ; The boom across the Pludson 
broken ; Clinton's despatch to Burgoyne and fate of the bearer, 285 ; Marauding British 
troops burn Kingston ; Battle on the Brandywine Creek ; Americans defeated ; Massacre 
near the Paoli Tavern, 286 ; Flight of Congress from Phiiadciphia ; Americans defeated 
at Germantown, and retire to Whitemarsii, 287 ; Conspiracy against Washington— 
" Conway's Cabal ;" Loyalty of Lafayette, 288 ; A council with Indians at Johnstown. 
289 ; Desolations by Indians and Tories in the interior of New York, 290 ; Massacre at 
Cherry Valley, 291 ; Invasion of the Wyoming Valley, 292 ; Resistance to the invasion, 
293 ; Desolation of Wyoming, 294 ; Alliance with France ; An English peace-commis- 
.sioner ; The British flee from Philadelphia ; Battle at Monmouth Court-House, 295 ; 
Hostilities in Rhode Island and off the coast, 297. 



British expedition up the Hudson, 297 ; Capture of Stony Point and Verplanck's 
Point ; British marauders on the coasts of Connecticut, 298 ; Wayne attacks Stony 
Point, 299 ; Tlie Americans recapture Stony Point, 300 ; Indian atrocities ; Expedition 
against the Onondagas; Tragedy at Miuisink, 301 ; Honors to the dead at Goshen, 302; 
Sullivan's campaign, 303, 304 ; Siege of Savannah ; A naval fight ; Sir John Johnson's 
raid into the Mohawk Valley, 305, 306 ; Schoharie Valley desolated, 306 ; Operations in 
the Mohawk Valley, 307 ; Battle at " Klock's Field ;" Invasion of a motley army from 
Canada ; Sir Henry Clinton sails for Charleston ; Surrender of Charleston, 308 ; Oper- 
ations of Cornwallis in the Carolina^ ; Battle of King's Mountain ; Arrival of a land and 
naval force from France, 309. 


Arnold's treason, 310-315 ; Complot of Arnold and Major Andr6, 311 ; Arrival of 
Major Andre, 312 ; Events at Arnold's headquarters, 313, 314 ; Escape of Arnold ; 
Andr6 conveyed to Tappan, 314 ; Trial and execution of Andre, 314, 315 ; The fate 
of Arnold and Andre ; Stirring event on Long Island, 315 ; Civil events in the region of 
the New Hampshire Grants, or Vermont, 316 ; Leaders in Vermont coquet with 
British authorities in Canada, 317, 318 ; Settlement of disputes between New York and 
Vermont ; Continental paper currency and Articles of Confederation, 319 ; Weakness 
of the general government ; Arnold serving his purchasers in Virginia. 320 ; British 
troops in Virginia, 321 ; Allied armies and the British in Virginia. 322 ; Surrender of 
Cornwallis ; War in the South, 323 ; Greene's famous retreat ; Greene turns upon his 
enemies, 324, 325 ; Battles at Guilford Court-House, near Camden, Fort Ninety-Six, and 
Eutaw Spring, 324, 325. 


Closing events of the Revolution, 326-331 ; Discontents of the soldiers ; A proposal 
to Washington to become king; The " Ntwburg Addresses," 327 ; The results of a 
meeting of officers, 328 ; Disbanding of the Continental Anny begun, 328. 329 ; Latest 
survivors of the army, 329 ; The Society of the Cincinnati, 329, 330 ; Flight of Tories 
from New York, and confiscations, 330 ; The British evacuate New York ; Washington 
parts with his officers. 331 ; Surrenders his commission ; Foundation of a State Govern- 
ment laid, 332, 333 ; Political capital of New York : Adjustment of boundaries, 333 ; 
Land cessions by the Six Nations, 334 ; Territorial claims adjusted, 335 ; Formation of 
a National Constitution, 336 ; Federalists and Anti-Federalists, 337 ; Popular discussions 
of the Constitution, 338 ; Constituent Convention at Poughkeepsie, 339 ; Adoption of 
the Constitution ; Membere of the National Congress for New York, 341. 


Political divisions of New York ; Emigrations and settlements, 342 ; Land pur- 
chasers ; A great wagon-road constructed ; Party strife, 343 ; First meeting of C'ongress 
under the Constitution, 344 ; Washington inaugurated President of the United States, 
345 ; Official ai)pointm('nts ; Spirit of the Constitution of New York ; A political coa- 
lition, 346 ; Origin of the canal system in the State, 347, 348 ; The early promoters of 
the system, 347-349 ; Condition of New York City at the close of the Revolution, 350 ; 
A Federal celebration, 351 ; A newspaper office mobbed ; Yellow-fever in New York 
City, 352. 



Effect of the Freneli Revolution on American politics, 353 ; Jefferson's expectations, 
disappointments, and suspicions, 353, 354 ; Jefferson the leader of the Republican Party ; 
Arrival of " Citizen" Genet, 354 ; Reception of Genet in Philadelphia, 355 ; Democratic 
societies formed ; Conduct of Genet and his friends, 356 ; Reception of Genet in New 
York ; His recall, 357 ; Social influence of French emigrants in New York ; Jay's 
treaty, 358, 359 ; The Whiskey insuirection, 358 ; Opposition to Jay's treaty, 359 ; The 
Tammany Society, or Columbian Order ; Legislative aid for common schools provided, 
360, 361 ; State Literature Fund ; Support of popular education, 361 ; Board of 
Regents, 362 ; Electors ; Abolition of slavery proposed ; Albany made the Stale capital, 
363 ; The alliance with France celebrated ; Political strife, 364 ; Manhattan Water 
Company and Bank, 365 ; De Witt Clinton ; Jefferson elected President ; Downfall of 
the Federal Party ; Death of Washington, 366. 


Social aspects of New York State and City at the beginning of this century, 367-370 ; 
The Chamber of Commerce and benevolent societies, 369 ; Churches and country-seats ; 
First revision of the State Constitution, 370 ; Political influence of two families, 371 ; A 
bitter personal and political warfare, 372 ; Schism in the Democratic Party ; Hamilton and 
Burr, 373 ; Hamilton slain by Burr in a duel, 374, 375 ; Burr's political death, and trial 
for treason ; The West Point ^lilitary Academy ; Governor Morgan Lewis, 375 ; 
Foundation of a permanent school fund laid ; The Free School Society, 376 ; Navigation 
by steam established, 377 ; Embargo Act, 378 ; Cause of the downfall of the Federal 
Party ; Coquetting with the " Burrites," 379, 380 ; The State prepares for war ; Gov- 
ernor Tompkins, 380; The British Orders in Council unrepealed, 381. 


The genesis of the Erie Canal, 382, 385 ; Gouverneur Morris, 382 ; Jesse Hawley, 
Simeon De Witt, and Joshua Forman, 383 ; Thomas Eddy and a public meeting in New 
York, 384 ; Beginning of the construction of the Erie Canal, 385 ; Opposition to it, 386 ; 
Second overthrow of the Federal Party, 386 ; War of 1812-15 ; The Chesajyeake and 
Leopard affair, 387 ; Peace Party ; Northern frontier of New York, 388 ; Surrender of 
Detroit ; Militia of New York, 389 ; Beginning of war on the Northern frontier, 390- 
392 ; Battle of Queenstown, 393-396. 


Doings of the American Navy, 397, 398 ; A bank charter in politics, 399, 400 ; De 
Witt Clinton a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, 400 ; Hostilities on 
Lake Ontario and the regions of the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers, 400, 401 ; War 
spirit in the West, 403 ; Movements for the recovery of Michigan, 403, 404 ; Belligerent 
fleets on Lake Erie, 405 ; Battle on Lake Erie, 405, 406 ; The Creek War, 406, 407. 


Attack on Ogdensburg, 408 ; The capture of York (Toronto), 409 ; The Niagara 
River and frontier in possession of the Americans, 410 ; Attack on Sackett's Harbor, 
411. 412 ; Affair at the Beaver Dams, 412 ; Operations on the Niagara frontier, 413 ; 


Operations on Lake Champlain, 414, 415 ; Expedition against Montreal, 415-417 ; The 
Niagara frontier desolated, 417 ; Nuval operations on the sea, 417, 418 ; Amphibious 
warfare, 418 ; American naval force in 1818, 411). 


Wellington's veterans sent to the United States, 420 ; Peace Faction, 420 ; Battle at 
La Colle Mill ; Struggle for the mastery of Tiake Ontario, 421 ; Invasion of Canada, 422, 
423 ; Battle of Ciiippewa, 424 ; Battle of Lundy's Lane, 425 ; Americans victorious at 
Fort Erie, 426 ; Land and naval contest at Plattsburgh, 427^31 ; Attack on Fort 
Mackinaw, 432. 


Naval and military operations on the coasts of the United States, 433, 434 ; Stirring 
scenes at New York, 434 ; Brit:sh invasion of Maryland, 435 ; Battle of Bladensburg ; 
Incendiarianism at Washington, 436 ; British repulsed at Baltimore, 437 ; Naval opera- 
tions on the ocean in 1814, 438, 439 ; American privateers, 440 ; New Orleans and 
Louisiana threatened, 441 ; Battle of New Orleans, 442; News of peace at New York, 
442, 443 ; The Hartford Convention, 443, 444. 


Governors Tompkins and ("linton, 445 ; Common schools and school fund, 446 ; 
(/ivil affairs in the State, 447-457 ; Defence against invasion, 448 ; Movements in favor 
of the construction of the Erie Canal, 449, 450 ; Abolition of slavery proposed, 451 ; 
Change in the position of political leaders, 452 ; " Bucktails " and " Clintonions," 453 ; 
Powers of the Councils of Appointment and Revision, 454 ; Revision of the State Con- 
stitution, 455 ; Features of the revised Constitution, 456, 457. 


Condition of New York in 1821 ; The Barbary Powers, 458 ; Readjustment of the 
machinery of the State government, 459 ; The " People's Party ;" De Witt Clinton and 
the people, 460 ; Lafayette's visit, 461 ; A new era, 462 ; Opening of the Erie Canal, 
463 ; Celebration of the opening of the canal, 463-468 ; Grand display in New York 
Harbor, 465 ; Nuptials of the lakes and the sea, 466 ; Grand procession in New York 
City, 467; Achievements of the Erie Canal, 468-470; liuffalo and Rochester in 1813, 
469, 470 ; A pagan rite at Rochester, 470 ; The common-school system, 471 ; The 
Anti-Masonic episode, 471, 472. 


Tariff laws and the " American System ;" Death of Governor Clinton, 473 ; Safety- 
fund system, 474 ; Anti-Masonic journal and Thurlow Weed, 476 ; A " Workingmen's 
Party ;"'New York fashions, 476 ; Name of the Whig Parly — how given, 477 ; Imprison- 
ment for (l(!bt abolished, 478 ; Renewal of th(> United States Bank charter considered, 
479 ; Van Buren appointed Minister to England : Itejected by the Senate, and the 
result ; NuUitication suppressed, 480 ; Actions of the United States Bank ; Equal Rights 
Party, 481, 482; Loeo-focos, 481; Revolution in journalism, 483; Election riots in 
1834, 488, 484 ; Native American Party, 484, 485 ; Al)olition riots, 485 ; Collapse of 
the credit system, 485, 486 ; Croton A(iueduct, 487. 

co:ntents. xiii 


Fi-ee school libraries established, 487 ; Normal School at Albany, 488 ; Lancastrian 
and Pestalozzian systems of teaching, 488, 489 ; Revolutionary movements in Canada, 
489, 490 ; " Hero of the Thousand Islands," 490 ; A disturbing incident on the Niagara 
frontier, 491 ; Overthrow of the Democratic Party, 491, 493 ; Financial achievements of the 
State, 493 ; Erie Canal ; Mr. Seward's first encounter with the slave power, 493 ; 
Seward on general education, 494 ; John C. Spencer on the same subject, 495 ; The 
Roman Catholics and the common-school fund, 496, 497 ; The Secretary of State and 
the Legislature at variance, 497 ; Anti-rentism, 499, 500 ; The electric telegraph and 
Professor Morse, 500 ; Governor Wright on the school fund, 500 ; The common-school 
system ; The annexation of Texas, 501. 


Third revision of the State Constitution, 503-505 ; The school S3-stem, action upon 
the, 505-507 ; John Yoimg governor, 506 ; Hamilton Fish governor ; Whig Party trium- 
phant, 507 ; Washington Hunt governor ; Repeal of the Free School Law, 508 ; The 
common-school fund ; Horatio Seymour governor, 509; Reorganization of the edu- 
cational system of the State ; Completion of the canals urged, 510 ; Governor Sey- 
mour offends the temperance people by vetoing a prohibitory liquor bill, 510; Myron 
H. Clark governor, and a stanch prohibitionist, 511 ; Republican Party organized, 511 ; 
Controls the National power, 513 ; The Lemon slave case, 513, 513 ; John A. King gov- 
ernor, 513 ; Edwin D. Morgan governor, 514 ; Struggle between Freedom and Slavery 
begun, 515 ; Conspiracy against the Union, 515, 516. 


Condition of New York State and City in 1861 ; An approaching tempest watched, 
517 ; A famous and inspiriting order, 517, 518 ; Loyal and patriotic action of the Legis- 
lature, 519 ; Disloyalty of the Mayor of New York, 519 ; Conservatism of business men ; 
The Crittenden Compromise, 530 ; A disloyal society, 530, 531 ; Insolence of a Seces- 
sion leader ; Formation of a league to destroy the republic, 581 ; Events in Charleston 
Harbor ; The President's call for troops, 533 ; Response of New York, 533 ; War meet- 
ing at New York, 533, 533 ; The Union Defence Committee, 533 ; The Seventh Regiment 
goes to the field, 534; Patriotic women; The Friends, or Quakers, 534; Action of 
civil and military authorities, 535 ; Financial aid given by New York ; Women's 
Relief Associations, 536 ; United States Sanitary and Christian Commissions, 537-539. 


Change in political aspects ; Financial ability of the State, 530 ; Soldiers furnished 
for the war ; A new era ; Governor Seymour's message, 531 ; The peace faction and 
Vallandigham, 532 ; Seditious movements ; The draft, 533 ; Draft riot in New York 
City, 534 ; Union League Club ; National currency established, 535 ; Conspiracies of 
the Confederates, 536 ; Men and money furnished for the war ; Trophies, 537 ; Close of the 
war ; Death of President Lincoln, 538 ; Important legislative action, 539 ; Revision of the 
State Constitution ; Cornell University, 540 ; Election in 1868, 541. 


John T. Hoffman governor ; Fifteenth Amendment of the National Constitution, 
543 ; A reactif)nary movement ; Amendments of charter, 543 ; Popular education ; Riot 


in New York City, 544 ; Tweed Ring, 544, 545 ; Plundering of the Treasury of New York 
City, 545, 546 ; The Exposure ()f the plunderers, 547, and the result, 548 ; Movements 
of the colored population ; Liberal Republican Party ; Horace Greeley for President of 
the United States, 548 ; A social phenomenon (note), 548 ; A Civil Rights Bill ; John 
A. Dix governor, 549 ; Alterations in the State Constitution ; Compulsory education, 
550 ; Laws for the protection of minors, 551 ; Samuel J. Tilden governor, 552. 


Centennial celebration and exhibition ; Savings-banks, 553 ; Investigations ; Frauds 
discovered, 554 ; Canals in the State, 554 ; Their length and cost, 555 ; Railroads in the 
State and their operations, 555 ; Public instruction, 556 ; New State House, 556, 557 ; 
The aggregate public debt ; Movements of population, 557 ; Products of industry, 558, 559 ; 
Marine architecture, 559 ; State of popular intelligence, 559, 560 ; Books and periodicals ; 
Money investments ; Benevolent and charitable institutions ; Literary and scientific 
societies, 560 ; Churches, 560, 561 ; The Hudson River and its associations, 561 ; Manors 
and manor-houses on the Hudson, 563-565 ; Government House ; Attractions of New 
York City, 566 ; New York City and its harbor, 566, 567 ; Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty 
Enlightening the World ; A metropolitan city, 567. 


Religious and social aspect of New York City ; School of the Collegiate (Dutch 
Reformed) Church, 568 ; Religious denominations in colonial New York ; An episco- 
pacy opposed, 569 ; Political condition of colonial New York, 569, 570 ; Courts, trade, 
and population in the colony ; How settlements were discouraged, 571 ; Statesmen, 
jurists, historians, and other literary men, 572-575 ; Writers on science, 575 ; The fine 
arts and artists, 575, 576. 


The organization of the counties of the State ; Governors, colonial and State. 




1. Albany, Seal of the City of 103 

2. Albany County Seal 99 

3. Albany, Plan of in 1695 138 

4. Allegany County Seal 578 

5. Allerton, Isaac, Signature of 49 

6. Amherst, Jeffrey, Portrait of 179 

7. Armstrong, John, Portrait of. . . . 313 

8. Andros, Edmond, Signature of. . 91 

9. Arnold, Benedict, Portrait of 310 

10. Ato-tar-ho 8 


11. Battery, Bowling Green, and Fort 

George 195 

12. Baxter, George, Signature of . . . . 58 

13. Bayard Arms, The 106 

14. Bayard, Nicliolas, Signature of. . 106 

15. Beeckman Arms, The Ill 

16. Beeckman, Gerardus, Portrait of. 110 

17. Beeckman, Gerardus, Signature 

of 110 

18. Beeckman, William, Signature 

of 73 

19. Bellomont, Earl of. Portrait of.. 121 

20. Bellomont, Earl of. Signature of. . 121 

21. Bellows, Henry W., Portrait of. . 527 

22. Berkeley, John, Signature of 94 

23. Billop House 246 

24. Binnenhof, The 16 

25. Bogardus, Everardus, Signature 

of 34 

26. Bolingbroke, Lord, Signature of. 136 

27. Bouck, W. C, Portrait of 498 

28. Bradstreet, John, Signature of. . . 174 

29. Brant, Joseph, Portrait of 270 

30. Broome County Seal 578 

31. Brown, Jacob 396 

32. Brown's Monument 307 


33. Buffalo in 1813 469 

34. Burnet, William, Portrait of 139 

35. Burns's Coffee-House 198 

36. Burr, Aaron, Portrait of 365 


37. Carr, Robert, Signature of 75 

38. Carroll, Charles, Portrait of 239 

39. Carteret, George, Signature of. . . 94 

40. Carterets, Arms of the 86 

41. Cartwright, George, Signature of. 75 
43. Castle Garden 461 

43. Cattaraugus County Seal 578 

44. Cayuga County Seal 578 

45. Champlain, Samuel, Portrait of. 10 

46. Chase, Samuel, Portrait of 239 

47. Chautauqua County Seal 578 

48. Chenango County Seal 578 

49. Cincinnati, Order of the 330 

50. Clark, Myron H., Portrait of . . . . 511 

51. Clarke's Monument 152 

53. Clerrmnt, The 377 

53. City Hall, The First 63 

54. City Hall in 1700 126 

55. City Hall, Wall Street 344 

56. Clinton Arms, The 154 

57. Clinton County Seal 578 

58. Clinton, DeWitt, Portrait of 385 

59. Clinton, George, Portrait of 399 

60. Clinton, James 284 

61. Clinton's Despatch 285 

63. Clipper-built Schooner, A 439 

63. Colden, Cadwallader, Seal of . . . . 140 

64. Colden, Cadwallader, Signature 

of 187 

65. Colden, Cadwallader, Portrait of. 187 

66. Collyer, Vincent, Portrait of 529 

67. Columbia County Seal 578 

68. Constitution House at Kingston. 258 

69. Cook, Lemuel 328 




70. Cooper, James Fenimore, Por- 

trait of .574 

71. Corubury, Lord, Signature of... 131 

72. Cornbury, Lord, Portrait of 131 

73. Cortland County Seal 578 

74. Costumes of Hollanders, 1630... 20 

75. Costumes and Furniture, 1740.. . 149 

76. Costumes, 1800 368 

77. Costumes about 1832 477 

78. Cruger, John, Portrait of 369 


79. Dearborn, Henry, Portrait of 392 

80. Delaware County Seal 579 

81. De Laet, John, Signature of 64 

82. De Lancey, James, Signature of. 158 

83. De Lancey, James, Seal of 158 

84. De Lancey, Oliver, Signature of. 213 

85. De Peyster Arms 130 

86. Dj Peyster, Abraham, Portrait 

of 129 

87. De Peyster, Johannes, Seal and 

Signature of 86 

88. De Sille, Signature of 67 

89. De Vries, David Fietersen, Por- 

trait of 33 

90. Dix, John A., Portrait of 548 

91. Dix's Order, Fac-simile of 518 

92. Dongan, Governor, Signature of. 96 

93. Duane, James, Portrait of 350 

94. Duchess County Seal 99 

95. Duke of York's Seal 84 

96. Dunmore, Governor, Signature 

of 303 

97. Dunmore, Governor, Seal of 203 

98. Dutch Church at Albany 45 


99. Eric County Seal 578 

100. Essex County Seal 579 

101. Evertsen, Admiral Cornelis, Por- 

trait of 88 

102. Executive Privy Seal 504 


103. Pac-similc of Journal of the Con- 

vention, 1788 340 


104. Federal Arms of the Five Na- 

tions 7 

105. Fen ton, Reuben E., Portrait of. . 537 

106. Fish, Hamilton, Portrait of 507 

107. Flag of Holland 81 

108. Flag of the Dutch West India 

Company ... 22 

109. Fletcher, Governor, Seal and Sig- 

nature of 117 

110. Fort Plain Block-House 306 

111. Franklin, Dr., Portrait of 239 

112. Franklin County Seal 579 

113. Fulton County Seal 579 

114. Fullon, Robert, Portrait of 876 

115. Fulton (he First 378 


116. Garden Street Church 125 

117. Gardiner Arms, The 42 

118. Gates Medal, The 282 

119. Genesee County Seal 579 

120. Genet, E. C, Portrait of 354 

121. George III., Statue of 199 

122. Goshen, Monument at 302 

123. Gouverneur, Abraham, Signature 

of T Ill 

124. Government House 566 

125. Greene County Seal 579 

126. Grinnell, Moses IL, Portrait of. . .523 


127. Half Moon , The 12 

128. Hamilton, Alexander, Portrait of. 337 

129. Hamilton, Andrew, Portrait of . . 145 

130. Hamilton and the People 146 

131. Hamilton County Seal 579 

132. Heathcote, Caleb, Portrait of 132 

133. Heathcote, Caleb, Signature of . . 132 

134. Tlendrick, King, Portrait of. . . . 166 

135. Herkimer Comity Seal 579 

136. Hoffman, John T., Portrait of.. 542 

137. Hone, Philip, Portrait of 465 

138. Howe, Lord George, Portrait of. 175 
189. Hudson, Henry, Portrait of 11 

140. Hughes, ArcJibishop, Portrait of. 496 

141. Hunt, Washington, Portrait of.. 508 

142. Hunter. Robert, Signature of 137 

143. Hunter, Robert, Seal of 137 





144. Indian Fort, Attack upon 17 

145. Ingoldsby, Richard, Signature; of. 133 

146. Iroquois Chieftain 3 

147. Irving, Washington 573 

148. Izard, George, Portrait of 436 


149. James II., Portrait of 101 

150. James II., Signature of 101 

151. Jay, John, Portrait of 257 

152. Jay, William, Portrait of 451 

153. Jefferson County Seal 579 

154. Jersey Prison Ship 249 

155. Jogues, Isaac, Portrait of 47 

156. Johnson, Guy, House of 225 

157. Johnson, Sir John, Portrait of. . 231 

158. Johnson, Sir William, Portrait of. 224 

159. Johnson, Sir William, Signature 

of 225 

160. Johnson Hall 226 


161. Keg of Erie Water 467 

162. Kent, James, Portrait of 448 

163. Kicft, William, Signature of 39 

164. King, John A 518 

165. Kings County Seal 99 

166. Knapp, Uzal, Portrait of 235 


167. Lamb, John, Portrait of 205 

168. Lamb, John, Signature of 205 

169. Leisler, Jacob, Seal and Signa- 

ture of 107 

170. Lewis County Seal 579 

171. Lewis, Morgan, Portrait of 374 

172. LifeGuard, Banner of 236 

173. Links of Chain at West Point. . . 253 

174. Livingston Arms, The 108 

175. Livingston County Seal 579 

176. Livingston, John, Portrait of 562 

177. Livingston Manor House 563 

178. Livingston, Mary, Portrait of . . . 562 

179. Livingston, Robert, Portrait of. . 108 

180. Livingston, Philip, Portrait of... 221 

181. Livingston, Robert R., Portrait 

of 345 

182. Loockermans, Govert, Signature 

of 56 

183. Lovelace, Lord, Signature of.. . . 133 


184. Macdonough, Thomas, Portrait 

of 429 

185. Macomb, Alexander, Portrait of. 430 

186. Madison County Seal 579 

187. Marcy, William L , Portrait of. . 479 

188. Megopolensis, John, Signature of. 77 

189. Melyn, Cornells, Signature of... 51 

190. Milking-Time at Albany 150 

191. Minuit, Peter, Signature of 27 

192. Monckton, Robert, Signature of. 192 

193. Monckton, Robert, Seal of 192 

194. Monroe County Seal 579 

195. Montgomery County Seal 5^2 

196. Montgomery, Richard, Portrait 

of 229 

197. Mooers, Benjamin, Portrait of. . 427 

198. Moore, Governor, Signature of. . 193 

199. Moore, Governor, Seal of 193 

200. Morgan, Edwin D., Portrait of. . 512 

201. Morris Arms, The 143 

202. Morris, Gouverneur, Portrait of. 382 

203. Morris, Lewis, Signature of 143 


204. New Amsterdam, 1664 79 

205. New Amsterdam, Cottage at 80 

206. New Amsterdam, Seal of 67 

207. New Netherlaiid, TIw 25 

208. New Netherland, Map of 36, 37 

209. New Netherland, Seal of 27 

210. New State Capital {Frontispiece). 

211. New York City, Seal of 95 

212. New York County Seal 97 

213. New York Province, Seal of 109 

214. Niagara County Seal 582 

215. Niagara, Fort 402 

216. NicoUs, Richard, Signature of. . . 74 

217. Nicholson, Francis, Signature of. 105 

218. Normal School Building. 488 


219. Oneida County Seal 582 

220. Onondaga County Seal 582 




221. Ontario County Seal 582 

222. Orange County Seal 99 

223. Orleans County Seal 582 

224. Oswego County Seal 582 

225. Oswego, Fort, in 1750 141 

226. Otsego County Seal 582 


227. Perry, Oliver H., Portrait of 405 

228. Philipse Manor House 565 

229. Pike, Zebulon M.. Portrait of .. . 409 

230. Pleasure Wagon, A Dutch 69 

231. Power, Nicholas, Signature of.. 339 

232. Public Instruction, Seal of De- 

partment of 510 

233. Publishing the Constitution 259 

234. Putnam County Seal 582 


235. Queens County Seal 99 

236. Queenstown, Incident in the Bat- 

tleat 394 


237. Randolph, Peyton, Portrait of. . . 210 

238. Randolph, Peyton, Signature of. 211 

239. Red Jacket, Portrait of 423 

240. Reid, Samuel C, Portrait of 440 

241. Rensselaer County Seal 582 

242. Richmond County Seal 99 

243. Riedesel, Baroness de, Portrait 

of 265 

244. Rivington, James, Portrait of. . . 233 

245. Rivington, James, Signature of. . 234 

246. Robinson, Beverly, Portrait of.. 318 

247. Robinson House, The 313 

248. Rochambcuu, Portrait of 320 

249. Rochester in 1813 470 

250. Rockland County Seal 582 

251. Rogers, Robert, Portrait of 185 

252. Bnjal Savage, The 251 


253. St. Lawrence County Seal 582 

254. Saratoga County Seal 583 

255. Schenectady County Seal 583 

256. Schoharie County Seal 583 






Schuyler Arms, The 135 

Schuyler County Seal 583^ 

Schuyler, Peter, Portrait of 134 

Schuyler, Philip, Portrait of 281 

Scott, Wintield, Portrait of 422 

Sears, Isaac, Signature of 208 

Seal, First Great, of New York. . 332 
Seal, Second Great, of New 

York 33a 

Seneca County Seal 583 

Seward, William H., Portrait of . 492 

Seymour, Horatio, Portrait of. .. 509 

Silver Bullet 285 

Snake Device 212 

Statue of Liberty, Barlholdi 567 

Steenwyck, Cornells, Portrait of. 87 

Steuben, Baron von, Portrait of. 322 

Steuben '.s Monument 321 

Steuben County Seal 583 

Stirling, Lord, Portrait of 24.5- 

Stone Mill at Plattsburg 428 

Stone, William L., Portrait of. . . 463 

Stuyvesant, Peter, Portrait of . . . 53 

Stuyvesant, Peter, Signature of. . 78- 

Sluy vesant's Seal 54 

Suffolk County, Seal of 99 

Sullivan County Seal 583 

Sullivan, John, Portrait of 303 

Tables at Federal Dinner 351 

Throop, Enos T., Portrait of 478 

Ticonderoga, Fort, Ruins of 219 

Tilden, Samuel J., Portrait of. . 551 

Tioga County Seal 583 

Tompkins, Daniel D., Portrait of. 380 

Tompkins County Seal 583 

Totemic Signatures 6 

Trinity Church, Old 120 

Tryon, Governor, Signature of. . 204 
Try on, Governor, Seal of 204 


Ulster County Seal 99 

Undcrhill. John, Signature of. .. 50 
United States Sanitary Commis- 
sion Seal 528- 





298. Van Buren, Martin, Portrait of . . 446 

299. Van Cortlandt Manor House 564 

300. Van Cortlandt, OloflE S., Seal and 

Signature of 61 

301. Van Curler, Arendt, Signature , 

of 44 

303. Van Dam, Rip, Portrait of 142 

303. Van Der Donck, Signature of . . . 61 

304. Van Dincklagen, Lubbertus, Sig- 

nature of 38 

305. Van Rensselaer Anns, The 46 

306. Van Rensselaer, Killian, Signa- 

ture of 32 

307. Van Rensselaer, Jeremias, Por- 

trait of "4 

308. Van Rensselaer Manor House 561 

309. Van Rensselaer, Stephen, Por- 

trait of 395 

310. Van Ruyven, Cornelis, Signature 

of TO 

311. Van Slechtenhorst, Signature of. 60 

312. Van T wilier, Walter, Signature 

of 34 

313. Varick, Richard, Portrait of 359 

314. Wampum Belt 19 







War Implements, Indian 294 

Warren County Seal 583 

Washington County Seal 583 

Washington, Colonel George, 

Portrait of 176 

Washington's Headquarters, 

Room in 326 

Watson, Elkanah, Portrait of... 348 

Wayne, Anthony, Portrait of 299 

Wayne County Seal 583 

Wayne's Despatch 300 

Webb, James Watson, Portrait 

of 483 

West India Company's House. . . 21 

Westchester County Seal 99 

Wilkinson, James, Portrait of . . . 414 

Willett, Marinus, Portrait of 272 

Windmill, A Dutch 69 

Wool, John E., Portrait of 525 

Wooster, David, Portrait of 230 

Wright, Silas, Portrait of 475 

Wyoming County Seal 583 


334. Yates, Joseph C, Portrait of 459 

335. Yates County Seal 583 

336. Young, John, Portrait of 506 




Xkw York is ranked among tlio commonwealths of our Republic as 
'' The Empire State.'' Wherefore ? Is it imperial in its various aspects 
of population, wealth, the products of its industries, its forests and 
mines, its natural scenery, its commerce, and its institutions of learning 
and benevolence ( Let us see. 

The superficial area of Xew York is 49,000 square miles, including 
its share of Lakes Erie and Ontario and the St, Lawrence River. Its 
surface is picturesquely diversified with lofty ranges of the Appalachian 
chain of mountains, which crown the Atlantic slope of the continent 
from the Gulf region to the St. Lawrence, and with fertile valleys and 
uplands, and numerous lakes and rivers. 

The loftiest mountain peak in the State is Mount Marcy, the Ta-lw- 
loas or " sky-piercer" of the Indians. It is one of the grand Adirondack 
group in Northern New York, and rises to the altitude of over 5400 feet 
above tide-water. 

The chief river of the State is the Hudson, fiowing from the springs 
of the Adirondack Mountains, receiving numerous swift-running tribu- 
taries, and is navigable for large vessels fully 160 miles from the ocean. 
It traverses a most picturesque and fertile region about 300 miles. 
Along its whole course its waters and its banks are thickly clustered with 
exciting and romantic historical and legendary associations. 

New Y'ork is bisected east and west by the longest and best-equipped 
canal in the world. It was constructed by the State (1817-25), is 363 
miles in length, and cost over $9,000,000. Its subsequent enlarge- 
ment cost $25,000,000. There are ten other canals owned by the State, 
the aggregate length of which is over 900 miles. There are 133 rail- 
roads in the State, having a total length in operation within the borders 
of the commonwealth of nearly 7000 miles. 


Tlio climate of jS'ew Vork is salubrious and varied, having a range 
wider than in any other member of the Union. The State lies between 
the parallels of 40° 29' and 45° north latitude. Its soil is productive 
almost everywhere. In the value of its farm lands and general farm 
])roduct8 it leads all the other States. In 1880, according to the tenth 
national census, it had within its borders nearly 242,000 farms, embracing 
over 28,000,000 acres, of which nearly 18,000,000 acres were improved 
land. The total value of the farms was more than $1,000,000,000. 
The State contained, in 1880, nearly 43,000 manufacturing establishments, 
employing about $515,000,000 of capital, and producing annually goods 
valued at nearly $1,100,000,000. 

The population of the State in 1880 was 5,082,871, or 799,980 more 
inhabitants than any other State of the Republic, and embracing about 
one tenth of the entire population of the thirty-eight United States and 
the Territories. It also carries on its bosom seventeen cities, each having 
a population of 20,000 and upward. Five of these cities have each a 
])opulation of over 100,000. Its system of public instruction is un- 


These are a few of the many facts that might be presented in justifi- 
cation of giving to New York the title of " The Empire State." 

This mighty fraction of the Great Republic of the West — this popu- 
lous, wealthy, and powerful State — had its birth two centuries and three 
(juarters ago on the little island of Mannahatta, or Manhattan, lying 
where the fresh waters of the Hudson River lovingly commingle with 
the brine of the Atlantic Ocean. Around the cradle in which the infant 
empire was rocked stood in wonder and awe representatives of an 
ancient race, dusky and barbarous in aspect, whose early history is 
involved in the hopeless obscurity of myth and fable. 

At the same time there was a barbaric republic in the wilderness, 
simple, pure, and powerful, its capital seated a hundred leagues from 
the sea, among the beautiful hills and shadowy forests, glittering lakes 
and sunny savannas, within the present domain of the State of New 
York. Its western boundary was the mighty Niagara River, a swift- 
tlowing strait between two great inland seas, broken midway by a cata- 
ract which has no equal on the earth in power, grandeur, and sublimity.* 

* Perhaps the first European who netually saw the Niagara Falls was Father Henne- 
])in, a missionary, who in his Voyayex gives a description and ii nide drawing of the 
great wonder. He estimated their height much greater than it reallj' was. He also 
shows in the pictures a portion of the stream spouting from below a nK'k on the (present) 
Canada shore, far athwart tin; great Horse-shoe Fall. There have been many changes 
within u comparatively few years in the asjx'ct of the Falls, owing to uiidcnuining and 



The existence of this republic was unknown to the nations beyond the 
Atlantic, and unsuspected by them until Cartier sailed up the St. Law- 
rence River ; until Charaplain penetrated the wilderness of Northern 
New York, and Hudson voyaged up the beautiful river that bears his 
name, and touched the eastern border of this marvellous amphictyonic 
league known in history as " The Iroquois Confederacy." The later 
history of this league is interwoven with the earlier history of the State 
of New York, and forms an essential part of it. 

Tiie Indian tribes to vrhom the French gave the name of Iroquois in- 
habited tlie State of New York north and west of the Catskill Moun- 
tains (the Kaatsbergs) and soutli of the Adirondack group, a part of 
Northern Pennsylvania, and a por- 
tion of Ohio some distance along 
the southern shore of Lake Erie. 
The Ilurons or Wyandots, who 
occupied nearly the w^iole of Can- 
ada south-west of the Ottawa River 
between Lakes Ontario, Erie, and 
Huron, seemed by their language 
to have been a part of the Iroquois 
family, and these, with the tribes 
south of the lakes, constituted 
the Huron -Iroquois nation. They 
were completely surrounded by 
the Algonquins, the most exten- 
sive and powerful of the aborigi- 
nal nations discovered within the 
present boundaries of the United 
States by the first European ad- 

The Iroquois Confederacy was originally composed of five related 
families or nations, called, respecti vely, J/(?/m?<j^.9, Oneidas, Onondagas, 
Cayiigas, and Senecas. According to their traditions, they had, in a 
far-back period, been confined under a mountain at the falls of the 
Oswego River. They were released by Ta-renga-wa-go?i, the Holder of 
the Heavens, and were led by him to the Mohawk Valley. Wandering 
eastward, they came to the Hudson River, and descended it to the sea. 

iibrasion by the water. Huge masses of rock have, from time to time, fallen into the 
gulf below. Table Rock, from the side of which Hennepin's third stream was pro- 
jected, fell only a few y(»ars ago. The writer was upon the rock less than twenty-four 
liours before it fell. 



Iletuniing to tl»o mouth of the Mohawk Iliver, they travelled westward, 
separated, and seated themselves at various points in the country between 
the ]Iudson Kiver and Lake Eric, in the order in whicii they are above 
named. At that time there were six families. One of them, the 
Tnscaroras, soon wandered to the South, and seated themselves on the 
Neuse River in North Carolina. The five families who remained, 
though of the same blood, continually waged crnel wars against each 

The Holder of the Heavens liad never ceased his guardianship of 
these five nations after their release from their subterranean prison. On 
account of the excellence of his character, his wisdom, and his sagacity, 
Ta-ren(j-a-tixi-gon'W2iS, called by the people Ili-a-wat-ha — " the very wise 
man." They regarded him with profound veneration, and in all things 
followed his advice. At length a fierce and powerful tribe of barbarians 
(tame from the country north of the lakes, fell upon the Onondagas — the 
dwellers among the hills — laid waste their country, slaughtered their 
women and children, and plunged the whole nation into the depths of 
despair. In their distress they hastened to Hi-a-wat-ha for counsel, 
lie advised them to call together all the tribes in a general council to 
devise means for mutual defence. They agreed to the proposal. Ho 
appointed a place for the assembling of the convention on the bank of 
Onondaga Lake, and promised to meet with them there. 

For three days the council fire had blazed before Jli-a-ioat-ha arrived, 
lie had been devoutly praying in silence to the Great Spirit for guid- 
ance. At length he approached in a white canoe, gliding over the waters 
of the lake, accompanied by his darling daughter, twelve years of age. 
They were received with joy, and as they landed and walked toward the 
council fire a sound like a rushing wind was heard, and a dark spot, ever 
increasing in size, was seen descending from the sky. It was an 
immense bird swooping down toward the spot where Jll-a-wat-ha and 
his child stood. He was unmoved. The bird fell upon his sweet daughter, 
crushed her into the earth, and perished itself. For three days Ili-a- 
wat-ha mourned his child. Then he took his seat in the great council, 
listened to the debates, and said : " Meet me to-morrow, and I will 
unfold to you my plan." They did so, when the venerated counsellor 
arose and said : 

" Friends and Brothers : You are members of many tribes and nations. 
You have come here, many of you, a great distance from your homes. 
Wc liave met for one common purpose — to provide for our common in- 
terest — and that is to provide for our mutual safety, and how it shall 
best be done. To oppose these foes from the north hy tribes, singly 


and alone, would prove onr certain destruction. We can make no prog- 
ress in that way. We must unite ourselves into one common band of 
brothers. Thus united we may drive the invaders back. This must 1)0 
done, and we shall be safe. 

" You, the Mohawks, sitting under the shadow of the ' Great Tree,' 
whose roots sink deep into the earth, and whose branches spread over a 
vast country, shall be the first nation, because you are warlike aud 

" And you, Oneidas, a people who recline your bodies against the 
' Everlasting Stone,' that cannot be moved, shall be the second nation, 
because you give wise counsel. 

" And you, Onondagas, who have your habitation at the " Great 
Mcmntain,' and are overshadowed by its crags, shall be the third nation, 
because _you are greatly gifted in speech, and are mighty in war. 

" And you, Cayugas, whose habitation is the ' Dark Forest,' and 
whose home is everywhere, shall be the fourth nation, because of your 
superior cunning in hunting. 

" And you, Senecas, a people who live in the ' Open Country,' and 
possess much wisdom, shall be the fifth nation, because you understand 
i)etter the art of raising corn and beans, and making cabins, 

" You, five great and powerful nations, must unite and have but one 
common interest, and no foe shall be able to disturb or subdue you. If 
we unite, the Great Spirit will smile upon us. Brothers, these are the 
words of Ili-a-wat-ha • let them sink deep into your hearts." 

After i-eflecting upon the subject for a day, the five nations formed a 
league. Before the council was dispersed Ill-a-wat-ha urged the people 
to preserve the union they had formed. " Preserve this,'' he said ; 
'* admit no foreign element of power by the admission of other nations, 
and you will always be free, numerous, and happy. If other tribes and 
nations are admitted to your councils they will sow the seeds of jealousy 
and discord, and you will become few, feeble, and enslaved. Remember 
these, words ; they are the last you will hear from IH-a-ioat-ha. The 
Great Master of Breath calls me to go. I have patiently waited his 
summons. I am ready to go. Farewell !" 

At that moment myriads of singing voices-burst upon the ears of the 
multitude, and the whole air seemed filled with music. Hl-a-umt-ha, 
seated in his white canoe, rose majestically above the throng, and as all 
eyes gozed in rapture upon the ascending wise man, he disappeared for- 
ever in the blue vault of heaven. The music melted into low whispers, 
like a soft summer breeze. There were pleasant dreams that night in 
every cabin and wigwam occupied by the members of the Great Council. 


and all tlie Five Nations were made liappy by tlie announcement of the 
glad tidings among them. 

This confederacy was called JCo-no-shi-oni — tlie " cabin-builders" — the 
" Long House," which extended from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. 
The Mohawks kept the eastern door and the Senecas the western door. 
The Great' Council Fire, or Federal Capital, was with the Onondagas. 
This metropolis was a few miles south of (present) Syracuse. 

Such is the traditionary history of the formation of the great Iroquois 
Confederacy, It is, of course, embellished by fancy, but it is un- 
doubtedly correct in every essential particular. At what time this league 
was formed cannot be accurately determined. It was probably not earlier 
than the year 1540. Jacques Cartier, who ascended the St, Lawrence to 


the site of Montreal in 1535, showed, by a vocabulary of Indian words 
which he made, that the Iroquois language was spoken there, probably 
by the Ilurons ; but he makes no reference to any Indian confederacy. 

The polity of the Iroquois League was as purely democratic as possible 
in spirit, but it took the representative or republican form for .con- 
venience. It was a league for mutual defence, not a political union. 
There was a wide distribution of power and civil organization, which was 
a safeguard against tyranny. Each canton or nation was a distinct re- 
public, independent of all others in relation to its doinestic affairs, but 
each was bound to the others of the league by ties of honor and general 
interest. Each canton had eight principal sachems, or civil magistrates, 
and several inferior sachems. The whole number of civil magistrates in 
the confederacy amounted to nearly two hundred. There were fifty 
hereditary sachems. 


Eacli canton or nation Mas subdivided into clans or tribes, each clan 
liaving a heraldic insignia called totem. For this insignia one tribe would 
have the figure of a wolf ; another, of 
a bear ; another, of a deer ; another, of 
a tortoise, and so on. By this totem- 
ic system they nuiintained a perfect 
tribal union.* After the Europeans 
<3anie the sachem of a tribe affixed his 
toteniy in the form of a rude represen- 
tation of the animal that marked his 
tribe, to documents lie was required to 
sign, like an ancient monarch affixing 
his seal.f 

Office was the rew^ard of merit 
alone ; malfeasance in office brought 
dismissal and public scorn. All public 
services w^ere compensated only by 
public esteem. The league had a 
president clothed with powers simi- 
lar to those conferred on the Chief Magistrate of the United States. 
He had authority to assemble a congress of representatives of the league. 
He had a cabinet of six advisers, and in the Grand Council he was 
moderator. There was no coercive power lodged anywhere excepting 
public opinion. 


* The chief totems of the Five Natious — tlie bear, tlie ^Polf, tlie deer, the tortoise, and 
the beaver — were, one of them, tlie distinguisliiiig mark of the delegate of each ua,tioii 
at the Grand Council or Congress of the Confederation, and appeared on his person. 
These constituted the Federal arms of the Confederacy when combined. 

t There were many toteinic symbols besides those named, such as different birds — the 
eagle, the heron, the turkey, and the plover. 

The signatures on page 6 were copied from the originals on documents. Fig. 1 is a 
tortoise ; Fig. 2 is the signature of King Hendrick, with his totem, a deer ; Fig. 3 is a 
potato totem ; Fig. 4, an eagle totem ; Fig. 5, a icolf totem, and Fig. 6, a beamr totem. 
Many totemic signatures are rudely drawn, while some are quite artistic and correct. 

The tortoise, the irolf, and the bear were the totems of the three families into which 
each nation was divided. In his stirring metrical romance, Frontenac, the late Alfred 
B. Street, describing tlu; aggressions and the supremacy of the Iroquois, thus alludes to 
these totemic symbols of a tierce tribe : 

" By the far Missinsippi the Illini shrank 
When the trail of the tortoise was seen on its bank ; 
On the hills of New England the Pequod turned pale 
When the howl of the wolf swelled at night on the gale ; 
And the Cherokee shook in his green smiling bowers 
When the foot of the bear stamp'd his carpet of flowers ." 



Tlie first chosen president of the league was tlie venerahle Ato-tar-ho, 
u famous Onondaga cliief. Tlie Indian traditions invest liiin vvitli ex- 
traordinary attributes. He is represented as living, at the time he was 
chosen, in grim seclusion in a swamp, where his dishes and drinking-cups, 
like those of the old Scandinavian warriors, were made of the skulls of 
his enemies slain in battle. When a delegation of Mohawks went to offer 
him the symbol of supreme power, they found him sitting in calm repose, 
smoking his pipe, but was unapproachable because he was clothed with 
liissing snakes — the old story of Medusa's tresses. They iinally invested 
him with a l)road belt of wampum as the highest token of authority. 

The military power dominated the civil power in the league. The 
nn'Htary leaders were called chiefs. They derived their authorit}'' from 

the people, and they sometimes, like the 
Iloman soldiers, deposed sachems or civil 
rulers. The army was composed wholly of 
volunteers. Conscription was impossible. 
Kvery able-bodied nuui Avas bound to do 
military duty, and he who shirked it in- 
curred everlasting disgrace. The ranks 
were always full. The war-dances were 
the recruiting stations. AVhatever was done 
in civil councils subjected to review 
by the soldiery, who had the right to call 
councils when they pleased, and to approve 
or disapprove public measures. Every im- 
portant measure was undertaken only after 
imanimous consent had been given. 
The matrons formed a thii-d and most })Owurful party in the legislature 
of the league. They had a right to sit in the councils, and held and 
exercised the veto power on the subject of a declaration of war. They 
had authority to demand a cessation of hostilities, and they were emi- 
nently peace-makers. Tt was no reflection upon the courage of warrioi-s 
if, at the call of the matrons, they M'ithdrew from the Avar-path. These 
women wielded great influence in the councils of the league, but they 
modestly delegated the duties of speech-making to some masculine 
orator. With these barbarians woman was man's coworker in legislation 
— a thing yet unknown among civilized j)eople. Such was the polity of 
the Iroquois Confederacy when it was discovered by Europeans.* 


■* " As I am forced to think." .says Dr. Coldcn {IIMor^^ of the Mrie Indian N(Uion»). 
" that the present .state of ihaliulunt, Nation exactly sliow.s the }f(n<t Ancient and Orif/inaJ 
(hmfition of almost every Nation ; so I iM'lieve here we may, with more certainty. s<'t* 


^^v\ -_c. 


The " inalienable rights of man" were held in such reverence by the 
Iroquois that they never made slaves of their fellow-men, not even of 
captives taken in war. By unity they Avere made powerful ; and to pre- 
vent degeneracy, members of a 
tribe were not allowed to inter- 
marry with each other. Like the 
Romans, they caused the expan- 
sion of their commonwealth by 
conquests and annexation. Had 
the advent of Europeans in Am- 
erica been postponed a century, 
the Confederacy might have era- 
braced the whole continent, for 
the Five Nations had already ex- 
tended their conquests from the 
great lakes to the Gulf of Mexi- 
co, and were the terror of the 
other nations East and West, 

For a long time the French in 
Canada, who taught the Indians 

the use of fire-arms, maintained a doubtful struggle against them. Cham- 
plain * found the Iroquois at M'ar against the Canada Indians from Lake 

the Origiiud Forms of all Governments than in the most ruriovs speculations of tlie 
Ijearned ; and that the Patriarchal and other Schemes in Politicks are no better than 
Ilfipotheses in Philosophy, and as prejudicial to real knowledge." 

The total population of the Confederacy at the advent of the Europeans did not ex- 
ceed probably 13, (MX). The Senecas seemed to be the more numerous. They were found 
to posses.s many of the better features of civilization. They hatl framed cabins ; cultivated 
the soil ; manufactured stone implements and pottery ; made clothing and foot-gear of 
the skins of animals ; fashioned canoes of bark or of logs hollowed by fire and stone 
axes, and showed some military skill and acumen in the construction of fortifications. 

* Samuel C'hamplain was an eminent French navigator, born at Brouage, France, in 
1567 ; served in the Spani.^h navy ; was pensioned by his king, and was induced by M. de 
Chastes, Governor of Dieppe, to explore and prepare the way for a colony on the banks 
of the St. Lawrence River. He Avas commissioned Lieiitenant-General of Canada. He 
a.scended the St. Lawrence in May, 1603, and landed on the site of Quebec. In a subse- 
quent voyage he planted the banner of France at Quebec — the capital of the dominion. 
In order to gain the friendship of the Indians, he was induced to join them, with a few 
Frenchmen, in an expedition against their enemies the Iroquois. They went up the Sorel 
River from the St. Lawrence in twenty-four canoes, into the "Lake of the Iroquois, " 
and on its lower western border (July 29th, 1609) had a sharp engagement with the foe. 
The arquebuses of the Europeans secured an easy victory. This was the first European 
invasion of the country of the Iroquois. The fight occurred between Crown Point and 
Lake George, not far from Schroon (Scarron) Lake. Champlaiu gave his name to the 
lartrer lake 


Unroll to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He fought tliem on the borders of 
Lake Chaniplaiii in 1609, and from that time until the middle of the 
<5entury tlieir wars against the Canada Indians and tlieir French allies 
were tierce and distressing. 

The Tuscaroras, in North Carolina, entered into a conspiracy with 
other Indians in 1711 to exterminate the white people there. They 
fell like lightning upon the scattered German settlements along the 
Koanoke River and Pamlico Sound. In one* night they slew one hun- 
dred and thirty persons. With knife and torch they desolated the settle- 
ments along the shores of Albemarle Sound. South Carolinians sped to 
the rescue of their smitten neighbors in 1712, and in the spring of 1713 
the Tuscaroras were driven into their stronghold, where eight hundred 
<)i them were made jjrisoners. The remainder fled to their kindred — 
the Five Nations — in June, and remaining there, formed the sixth nation 
<)i the Iroquois League. 

It was after this union that the most important events in the history 
of the league, as connected with the European inhabitants of the 
Province and State of New York, occurred. As the wars of the league 
with other barbarians, which occurred before the advent of the Euro- 
peans, have no bearing upon the early history of New York, I will for- 
bear alluding to them. 

Upon the walls of the Governor's Room, in the City Hall, New 
York, hangs a dingy portrait of a man apparently thirty-five or forty 
years of age. It was painted, probably, about three hundred years ago. 
His hair is dark and short, and so is his full beard. His forehead is 
broad, and his eyes are expressive of intelligence and good-nature. His 
neck is encircled by an ample " ruff," such as men wore late in the 
reign of C^ueen Elizabeth. It is claimed that this is an original picture 
from life of Hexhy Hudson,* a famous English navigator, who, in the 
service of some London merchants, attempted to make a voyage from 
(ireat Britain to China and Japan through the polar waters north of 
Europe and Asia early in the seventeenth century. He failed, and was 
iifterward employed for the same purpose by the Dutch East India Coni- 

* Henry Hudson was u native of England, born at about the middle of the sixteenth 
<".ontuiy. Of his early life nothing is known. He appears to have been an expert navi- 
gator, and employi'd, as avc have observed in the text, by both English and Duteh 
merehants in searching for a north-east jMissagc; to the East Indies. Failing in this elTort, 
he sailed westward to Anu'riea, entered a spacious land-locked bay into which poured the 
-waters of a mighty river, and up which he sailed one hundred and sixty miles. His 
name was given to it, as its discoverer and first explorer. After various tribulations he 
made a fourth voyage, in 1610, toward the Polar waters, descended the great bay that 
bears his name, and there jwrisht'd. 



pany. He sailed from the Texel in a yacht of ninety tons named the 
Half Moon,* vf\t\\ a select crew, in the spring of 1609. He steered for 
the coast of Nova Zembla. On the meridian of Spitzbergen he was con- 
fronted, as before, by impassable ice 
and fogs and tempest, and com- 
pelled to abandon the enterprise. 
Then he resolved to sail in search of 
a north-west passage " below Yirgi- 
nia," spoken of by his friend Caj)- 
tain Smith, He passed the southern 
capes of Greenland, and in July 
made soundings on the banks of 
Newfoundland. Sailing southward, 
he discovered Delaware Bay. He 
voyaged as far as the harbor of 
Charleston, when, disappointed, he 
turned his prow northward, and early 
in September sailed into the beauti- 
ful New York Bay "^ and anchored. 

SipJiding men ashore in a boat, they saw many almost naked, copper- 
colored inhabitants, some of M-hom followed them in their canoes on 
their return. 

From his anchorage Hudson saw a broad stream stretching northward. 
In the purple distance appeared the forms of lofty liills, through and 
beyond which the dusky inhabitants who swarmed around his ship in 
canoes told him there was a nn'ghty river which felt the pulsations of 
the tides of the sea. Believing this stream to be a strait flowing between 
oceans, he sailed on with joyous hope, not doubting he would be the 


* A claim lias been made that John Verazzano, a Florentine in the maritime service 
of King Francis I. of France, discovered New York Bay in 1534. It is asserted that he 
traversed the American coast from Cape Fear to latitude 50" N. , when he returned to 
France. The sole autliority upon which this claim rests is a letter alleged to have been 
written by the navigator to Francis I., in the summer of 1534. This letter was first pub- 
lished at Venice in 1556. No French original is known to exist, nor has there been found 
in the French archives of that period even an allusion to such a voyage. Verazzano 
was an adventurer. He was also a corsair, and was captured on the coast of Spain and 
hanged as a pirate at the village of Pico, in November, 1537. There is good i-eason for 
believing that the alleged letter of Verazzano is a forgery. In it is given a most confused 
account of the " seven hundred leagues of coast " traversed. It is said in it that a bay 
was discovered, but no data to determine whether it was Delaware, New York, or Narra- 
gansett Bay. It is safe to relegate to the realm of pure fiction such a vague and luitrust- 
worthy statement, even if the letter was genuine, as a foundation for a belief that Ver- 
azzano ever saw New York Bay. 



discoverer of the long-souglit iiortli-west passage to tlie Indies. Alas ! 
when lie had jmssed the mountains the water freshened and the stream 
narrowed. Hope failed him : but he voyaged on through a land of won- 
drous beauty and fertility — " as beautiful a land as the foot of man can 
tread upon,'' he said — a land peopled by vigorous men and beautiful 
women, who came to his vessel, and abounding with fnr-bearing animals. 
He sailed on until he reached the head of tide-water, and some of hi.s 
crew in a small boat passed by the foaming cataract of Cohoes at the 
mouth of the Mohawk ]liver, and M'ent several miles farther. Had 
lIudsoTi penetrated the wilderness a few leagues farther northward he 
might have met (Jliamplain, who was then exploring the lower borders 
of the " Lake of the Iro(piois," which afterward bore his own name. 



Hudson returned t(» his first anchorage in the beautiful harbor int<« 
which it has been claimed Ycrazzano, the Florentine navigator, had 
sailed more than fourscore years before. Ho took formal ])osse8sion of 
the country in the luime of the States-General of Holland, sailed out 
upon the Atlantic, and hastened to Europe to tell his glad tidings to his 
employers. He first landed in England, and there told his wonderful 
story. As he was an English subject, King James claime<l the land he 
had discovered as a rightful ])ossession of the JJritish crown. It was 
within the bounds of the North Virginia charter which he had granted. 
Added to these considerations was jealousy of the commercial advantages 
the Hollanders might derive from Hudson's discovery. The monarch, 
determined to secure to his crown every political right to the territory 
and every eonnnercial advantage possible for liis subjects, would not allow 


the navigator and liis vessel to leave England for a long time ; but 
Hudson had sent his log-l)Ook, his charts, and a full account of his 
discoveries to the authorities of the Dutch East India Company at Am- 

Tliese accounts so powerfully excited the cupidity of tlie Dutch that 
while King James was devising schemes for British political and com- 
mercial advantages, adventurers from Holland had opened a brisk fur 
trade with the Indians on the island of Manhattan, x\cting upon the 
principle and the practice of the saying, " Possession is nine points of the 
law," the Dntch, at the mouth of the river discovered by Hudson, kept 
British authority and dominion at bay more than fifty years.* 

* The Indians on tlie upper portion of the great river discovered by Hudson called it 
Cn-ho-ha-ta-tea ; those of the middle i>ortion, Hhat-te-mnr, and the Delawares and the 
dwellers in its lower portion, Mn-hi-cnn-ittuck, the " place of the Mohicans. " The Dutcli 
named it the Mauritius, in honor of their great prince, Maurice, Stadtholder of the 
Netherlands ; and the English named it Hudson's River in compliment of its discoverer. 

-^^ntil within a coini>aratively few years, it was frequently called North River. It was so 
designated at an early period to distinguish it from the Delaware, which was called the 

^^^mth River, 



In less than three years after his great discovery Hudson and his gallant 
little yacht perished. Not permitted to leave England, Hudson entered 
tlie service of an English company, and in the spring of 1610 he sailed in 
quest of a north-west passage to India. Passing Iceland, he saw Hecla 
flaming. Rounding the southern capes of Greenland, he went through 
Davis's Strait to the ice-floe beyond, and entered the great bay that 
bears his name. There he endured a dreary winter, and at midsummer, 
1011, his mutinous crew thrust him into a frail and open shallop, with 
his son and seven others, and cast them adrift to perish in the waste of 
waters. Philip Staife, tlie ship's carpenter, obtained leave to share the 
fate of his commander. The Half Moon sailed to the East Indies in 
the spring of 1611, and in March, the next year, she was wrecked and 
lost on the island of Mauritius. 

Hudson's discovery bore abundant fruit immediately. Wealthy mer- 
chants of Amsterdam sent a ship from the Texel laden with cheap mer- 
chandise suitable for traftic with the Indians for the furs and peltries of 
the beaver, the otter, and the bear. As soon as the Half Moon returned 
to New Amsterdam she, too, was sent on a like errand to Manhattan, 
which became the entrepot for the collection and exportation of furs 
gathered by the Indians from the regions of the Delaware and the 
Ilousatonic rivers, and even from the far-off Mohawk Valley, where 
dwelt tlie eastern nation of tlie Iroquois Republic. This was the begin- 
ning of peaceful intercourse between the Europeans and the dusky Five 

Many private adventurers were soon engaged in traffic with the 
Indians, and the Ilongcrs, tlie Pelgraves, and the Van Tweenhuysens, of 
Holland, were getting rich on the enormous profits derived from the 
trade.* Caj)tains De AVitt and Christiansen, Block and Mey were 
l)econiing famous navigators in connection with this trade before the 
free cities of Holland had cast a political glance toward the newly-dis- 
covered country. But when its importance became manifest, and King 

* Hans Hongers, Paul Pelgrave, and Lambreclit Tweenhuysen, merchants of Amster- 
dam, were the earliest Dutch traders for furs with the Indians at Manhattan. In 1612 
they equipped two vessels, \\\(i Fortune and the Tiger, for trade alonn the Hudson liiver 
These vessels were commanded respectively by Captains C'hristiansen and Block. 


James of Great Britain began to growl because the Uutcli were 
monopolizing the fur trade upon his claimed domain, tlie States-General 
of Holland "" seriously considered the matter. 

Within five years after Hudson departed from Manhattan a little seed 
of empire, less promising than that planted by Dido, Cecrops, or 
Romulus, but of far higher destiny, was deposited there. In December, 
1613, Adrien Block, a bold Dutch navigator, was about to sail from 
Manhattan for Amsterdam with a cargo of bear-skins when fire reduced 
his vessel — the Tiger — to ashes. The small storehouse of the traffickers 
could not afford shelter to Block's crew, and the wigwams of the Indians, 
freely offered, could not shield them from the biting frosts ; so they 
built log-cabins, and from the stately oaks which towered around them 
they constructed another vessel, which they called the Onrust — the 
"Restless" — forty-four feet long and eleven feet wide, and of sixteen 
tons burden. AVith anotljer cargo of furs the Onrxmi sailed for Holland 
in the spring of 1614. f That little collection of huts on the site of the 
stately warehouses of Beaver Street, and that little vessel, which was 
launched at the foot of Broadway, composed the fertile little seed of 
empire planted on Manhattan — the tiny beginning of the great commer- 
cial metropolis of the Western Hemisphere. 

Doubtful as to the real disposition of the Indians around them, the 
Dutch seem to have palisaded their storehouses at the southern end of 
Manhattan Island for a defence if necessary. In 1614 Captain C-hris- 
tiansen, who had made ten voyages to Manhattan Island, sailed up the 
Mauritius (now the Hudson River), and on an island a little below the 
site of Albany he erected a fortified trading-house, and called it Fort 
Nassau. This was on the borders of the Iroquois Republic. The islet 
was afterward called Castle Island. 

Meanwhile the several United Provinces of the Netherlands had peti- 
tioned the States-General or Congress of Holland to pass an ordinance 
securing a monopoly of the trade with the Indians on the Mauritius for 
a limited time to Dutch adventurers who might undertake the business. 
This was done in the spring of 1614. 

Merchants of Amsterdam and Hoorn formed a company, and at the 

* The name given to the Parliament or Congress of the United Provinces of Holland. 

f Block, the lirst shipbuilder on Manhattan Island, sailed up the East River into Lon^ 
Island Sound ; discovered the Connecticut River ; explored the New England coasts 
eastward ; entered and explored Narragansett Bay ; sailed to Martha's Vineyard and 
Cape Cod, and at the latter place left the Onrust, and proceeded to Holland in a vessel 
commanded by Captain Cliristiansen. He was afterward sent in command of some ves- 
sels employed in the whale-tishery near Spitzbergen, in 1615. 



middle of August, 1614-, they sent a deputation to the Dutcli court at the 
Hague to obtain a charter of special privileges promised by the ordinance. 
Before an oval table in the Binnenhof, a room in the ancient palace of 
the Counts of Holland, the chief representative of the merchants, Cap- 
tain Hendricksen, stood and epread before their High Mightinesses, the 
members of the States-CTerjeral, twelve in number, a " figurative map" 
of their discoveries in the Western Hemisphere. He gave details of the 
adventures of the navigators and traders, their expenses and losses. 


(The I'iilaci! of the Counts of Uollaiid at tlie Hague*). 

The leading representative of the State, before "whom llendricksen 
pleaded, was the famous John Van Ohlen Barneveldt,f the Advocate of 

* For four hundrod years the Counts of Holltind made their residence at the Hairue. 
There yet stands a straugliiij; pile of buildings surrounding a vast (juadrangle on one 
side of which is the Binnenhof, the palace of the Counts of Holland for many genera- 
tions. There, in a spacious hall, the States-CJeneral constantly lield their ordinar}' 

f Barneveldt \v:is n most lilKiiil and enlightened statesman of Holland, and one of the 
most loyal of eili/.ens. JIc was jxTsccuted by political and religious fanaticism, and the 
spite of Prince Maurice, IheStadthoUh-r, and was linally beheaded in front of the Binnen- 
hof on May 19th, 1619, condemned on a false diarge of treason. 




CHAMPLAIN's attack on the INDIAN FOKT.* 

(From a print in a narrative of his voyages.) 

A charter was granted to the mercliants on October 14tli, 1614, wliicli 
defined the region wlierein they were permitted to operate as " between 
the fortieth and forty-fifth degree" of north latituae — between the par- 
allels of Cape May and Nova Scotia. In that document the name of New 
Nethekland was given to the domain lying " between Virginia and 
New France." Notwithstanding this domain was included in the royal 
grant to the Plymouth Company of England, no settlement had been 
made by the English above Richmond, in Virginia, and no formal terri- 
torial jurisdiction had been claimed by them ; and the Dutch were not 
disturbed in their traffic or political jurisdiction for a long time. 

The Dutch on Manhattan Island and at Fort Nassau were continually 
exploring the neighboring regions and assiduously cultivating the friend- 

* The fort was really the fortified " walls" that enclosed an Iroquois village. It was 
composed of quadruple palLsades of large timber, thirty feet high, " interlocked the one 
with the other," wrote Champlaiu, " with an interval of not more than half a foot between 
them, with galleries in the form of parapets, defended by double pieces of timber, proof 
against our arquebuses, and on one side they had a pond with a never-failing supply of 
water, from which proceeded a number of gutters which they had laid along the interme- 
diate space, tlirowing the water without, and rendering it effectual inside, for the purpose 
of extinguishing fire." The galleries were well supplied with stones which the garrison 
hurled ujjon their enemies. An attempt was made to set fire to the fort, but failed. 
The assailants constructed movable towers of timber to overlook the parapets, in which 
to place four or five arquebusiers. See next page. 


sliip of the barbarians around them, wliile tlie Frencli in Canada were 
arousing the hostility of the Iroquois by joining their enemies in making 
war upon tliem. This was done to secure the friendship of tlie Canadian 

In the early autumn of 1615 Samuel Champlain (already noticed), 
tlien at Montreal, with ten Frenclimen carrying fire-arms, joined the 
Ilurons and Adirondacks in an expedition against the Iroquois. They 
went up the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, landed on its south-eastern 
sliore, and moving south-westward, penetrated tlie country to Lakes 
Oneida and Onondaga. There tliey attacked a stronghold of the Iroquois, 
and after a severe struggle for four hours, the invaders were repulsed, 
and finally retreated. During tlie figlit Champlain was twice wounded, 
and, unable to walk, was carried on a frame of wicker-work. He was 
compelled to pass the winter in the Huron country north of Lake 
Ontario, and did not return to Montreal until May, lOlG, where he was 
received with joy as one risen from the dead. 

The Indians who immediately surrounded the Dutch on Manhattan 
were the Metowacks on Long Island, the Monatons on Staten Island, 
the Karitaiis and Ilackensacks on the New Jersey shore, and the 
Weckquaesgeeks beyond the Harlem River. The Manhattans occupied 
the island that bears their name. 

In 161G Captain Ilendricksen sailed from Manhattan in the little 
Hestless built by Block, on an exploring voyage. He entered Delaware 
Bay, which Hudson had discovered seven years before, and explored the 
adjoining coasts and the river above as far as the rapids at Trenton. He 
was charmed with the beauty and evident fertility of the country around 
these waters. On the site of Philadelphia (which was founded sixty-six 
years afterward) he ransomed three captive Dutchmen. On his return 
to Manhattan this first European explorer of Delaware Bay and River 
proceeded to Holland to assist his employers in obtaining a separate 
charter which would give them the monopoly of trade with the inhab- 
itants of the newly-discovered territory. 

Again the energetic Captain Ilendricksen appeared before their High 
Mightinesses in the Binnenhof, displayed his maps and arguments, and 
gave a glowing account of his discoveries. Doubtful of their right to 
any territorial jurisdiction below the fortieth degree, the States-General, 
after duo deliberation, decided to postpone the matter " indefinitely." 

The floods of the Mohawk River sweeping in fury down the Mauritius 
with their heavy burden of floating ice comp(;lled the Dutch to abandon 
Fort Nassau, on Castle Island, in the spring of KUT. The island was 
submerged, and the fort was almost demolished. A new one was built 


on the main at the iiioutli of the Tawasentha Creek (now Norman's Kill), 
and there soon afterward the first formal treaty of alliance between the 
Dutch and the Iroquois Confederacy was consnnmiated. It was renewed 
in 1645, and in 1664 a new league of friendship with the barbarians was 
formed by tlie English. This remained inviolate until the kindling of 
the old war for American independence in 1775. 

At the great council at Tawasentha other powerful tribes were repre- 
sented, but the supremacy of the Five Kations was affirmed and acknowl- 
edged by the others, even with tokens of great humiliation. "When the 
long belt of peace and alliance was held by the Dutch at one end and by 
tlie Iroquois at the other end, the middle portion rested ujson the 
shoulders of the Mohi- ^ 

cans (Mohegans) and ^~>1— _,_^fes. 

So the Hollanders wisely and ^__^ vbI^^K^~~ 

ship of these " Romans of the ~ ^^^ ^ ,^J O |W|^ 

Success had attended the Dutch in ^^,- O^ -fiw^^ 

New Netherland from the begimn'ng, 

-, . • TT n 1 1 • • A. WAMPUM BELT.* 

and wise men in Holland were beginmng 
to prophesy that a flourishing Belgic 

Empire Avould arise beyond the Atlantic. Speculations concerning 
the bright future of Holland were everywhere indulged in. The 
sovereignty of the United Provinces had lately been recognized, and the 
Netherlands now ranked among the leading nations of the earth. For 
fully twoscorc years political and religious toleration had prevailed in 
the Low Countries, as Holland was called. There was no official 
restraint upon conscience. Holland had become an asylum for the per- 
secuted in all lands — -of the active thinkers and workers who had been 
compelled to seek a refuge somewhere for conscience' sake. The world 

* Wampum was the currency of the Indian.s, especial!}' of tliose wlio lived in the region 
of the sea. It was made of portions of the common clam shell in the form of cylindrical 
beads, white and bluish black. Each color had a distinct and fixed value. They were 
strung in little chains, or fastened upon deer-skin belts, often in alternate layers of white 
and black. As currency their value was estimated at about two cents of our coins for 
three black beads, or six of white beads. A fathom in length and three inches in 
width of white wampum was valued at about $2.50, and a fathom of blue black, at 
about $5. 



of bigots outside sneered. Amsterdam was pointed at as a " common har- 
bor of all opinions and all heresies." Holland was stigmatized as a " cage 
of unclean birds," where "all strange religions flock together," and an 
English poet wrote of Amsterdam, 

" The Universal Church is only there." 

Occasionally, however, the old spirit of intolerance would crop out 
and acts of violence would be performed when political ambition, dis- 


guised under tlie form of religious controversy, actuated the authorities 
of State, as in 1G19, when Grotius, the eminent scholar, was condemned 
to imprisonment for life, and the venerable patriot, John Yan Olden 
Barneveldt, was doomed to decapitation. It was at this juncture that 
schemes for the establishment of a colony of families in New Netherland 
began to be contemplated. Excellent materials for such a colony were 
then abundant in Holland, and the political and social condition of the 



Low Conntries favored sacli an enterprise. The feudal system tliere 
had begun to decay. Industry was made honorable. In the new era 
which had gradually dawned on tlie Netherlands the owner of the soil 
was no longer the head of a band of armed depredators who were his 
dependents, but the careful proprietor of broad acres, and devoted to 
industry and thrift. The nobles, who composed the landlord class, grad- 
ually came down from the stilts of exclusiveness, and in habits, and even 
in costume, imitated the working people in a degree. The latter 
became elevated in the social scale ; their rights were respected, and 
their relative value in the State was duly estimated. Ceaseless toil in 
Holland was necessary to preserve tire hollow land from the invasion of 


the sea, and the common needs assimilated all classes in a country where 
all must work or drown. 

Stimulated by the glowing accounts of the country and climate in the 
region of America watered by the Mauritius, and satisfied with the scant 
li])erty accorded them by the Dutch Grovernment, the English Puritan 
congregation of the Rev. John Ilobinson, then at Leyden, earnestly 
desired to emigrate to New Netherland. They proposed this enterprise 
to the Associated Merchants in 1618, whose charter of privileges had 
just expired. Mr. Robinson proposed to form a colony at Manhattan 



under "the Prince of Orange and their High and Mighty Lords, the 
States- General." 

The Association of Merchants eagerly listened to Rohinson's proposal. 
They offered to transport his whole congregation to Manhattan free of 
cost, and to furnish each family with cattle. They petitioned the Prince 
of Orange to sanction the scheme. Maurice referred the matter to the 
States- General. That body had a more ambitious scheme in contem- 
plation. Nearly thirty years before, the wise Usselincx had suggested the 
formation of a Dutch West India Company. The project was now 
revived, and the States- General authorized the organization of such a 
company — a grand commercial monopoly. A charter was granted on 
June 3d, 1621. Colonization was neither the motive nor tlie main 
object of the establishment of the Dutch West 
India Company. The grand idea was the promo- 
tion of trade. That was an age of great monopo- 
lies, and the Dutch West India Company was one 
of the greatest monopolies of the time. It was 
incorporated for twenty-four years, with a pledge 
of a renewal of its charter ; and it became the 
sovereign of the central portion of the original 
United States of America. It was vested with the 
exclusive privilege to traffic and plant colonies on 
the coast of Africa from the Tropic of Cancer to 
the Cape of Good Hope, and on the coasts of 
America from the Strait of Magellan to the remotest 
north. It provided that none of the inhabitants of 
the United Provinces of the Netherlands should be 
permitted to sail thence to the coasts of Africa 
between the points specified, nor to the coasts of 
America or the West Indies between Newfoimdland and Cape Horn, 
upon pain of a forfeiture of ships and cargoes. 

This great monopoly was vested with enormous powers and immense 
franchises that it might act with independence. It might conquer prov- 
inces at its own risk, hoist its fiag of red, white, and blue over for- 
tresses, and make contracts and alliances with princes and other rulers 
within the limits of its charter. It might build forts ; appoint and dis- 
charge governors and other officers and soldiei*s ; administer justice and 
regulate commerce. 

The States-General gave to the company a million guilders ($380,- 
000), and became stockholders to the same amount. They agreed 
to defend the company against every person, in free navigation and 

dutch "west india 
company's PL\G. 


traffic, but not any specified territory. They also agreed, in case of war, 
to assist tlie company by furnishing sixteen war-shipg of three hundred 
tons burden and four yachts of eighty tons, all fully equipped. The 
vessels were to be manned and supported by the company. The whole 
fleet was to be under an admiral appointed by the States-General. In 
war the latter was to be known only as allies and patrons. 

The company had five separate chambers of management, one in each 
of five principal cities in the I^etherlands. The general executive 
powers were vested in nineteen delegates, entitled The College of Nine- 
teen. In this college the States-Gleneral had one representative. The 
special charge of New Netherland was entrusted to the branch at Amster- 
dam. '- Thus the Government gave to a new mercantile corporation 
almost unlimited powers to subdue, colonize, and govern the unoccupied 
regions of Africa and America. The company was not finally organized 
until June, 1628. On the 21st of that month its books of subscription 
were closed, and the company began to prosecute their jiurposes with 

Although the Dutch West India Company was primarily a commercial 
corporation, its first grand eifort was the planting of a colony in New 
Netherland. Good policy dictated this step. In the summer of 1619 
an English vessel sent by the Plymouth Company on a voyage of dis- 
covery, attempting to pass the dangerous eddies at Hell Gate,f lost its 
anchor, and was carried by the strong currents of the East River far into 
the broad bay at Manhattan. Her commander (Captain Dermer) did 
not stop to parley with the Dutch traffickers, who saluted him, but sailed 
on to Virginia. On his return he stopped at Manhattan and warned the 
Dutch traders to leave " His Majesty's domain" as quickly as possible. 

" We found no English here, and hope we have not offended," said 
the good-natured Dutchmen, and went on smoking their pipes, planting 
their gardens, catching beavers and otters, and buying furs and peltries 
of the Indians as complacently as if they had never heard of his 
English Majesty. 

Dermer' s report of what he saw at Manhattan aroused the slumbering 
energies of the English, and especially of the Plymouth Company, <;har- 

* The most active members of the Amsterdam Chamber were Jonas Witsen, Hendrick 
Hamel, Samuel Godyn, Samuel Blommaert, John de Laet (the historian), Killian van 
Rensselaer, Michael Pauw, and Peter Evertsen Hult. 

f Formerly a dangerous passage at the entrance to the East River from Long Island 
Sound, made so by a whirlpool caused by a sunken reef of rocks at certain times of the 
tide. The danger has been removed by the action of exploded nitro-glycerine applied 
by a Government engineer. The early Dutch navigators gave it the name of " Helle 


tered by King Jau^es in 160C. Tliey liad made feeble attempts to plant 
colonies on the shores of the vast wilderness now known as New Eng- 
land. In 1614 the famous John Smith, the real founder of Virginia, 
ex])lored its coasts and principal rivers, and gave it the name whioli 
it bears. lie attempted to plant a colony there under the auspices of 
the company, but failed. At length (1620) the company obtained a new 
charter (under the name of Council of Plymouth), which extended the 
limits of their domain to the forty-eighth degree of latitude. The com- 
pany immediately put forth energetic efforts to establish a colony there. 

Pastor Robinson's congregation in Holland were still eager to emigrate 
to America. They obtained a patent from the Virginia Company to 
settle in the unoccupied region in the " northern part of Virginia," 
which extended to the fortieth degree of latitude. They formed a 
partnership with London capitalists, and late in 1620 one hundred and 
one men, women, and children of the congregation — pioneers — crossed 
the stormy Atlantic in the little 2I(njJlow€i\ intending to land on the 
coasts of Delaware or Maryland. By accident or by the providence of 
God they reached the continent on the shores of Cape Cod Bay. Find- 
ing themselves far north of the region designated in their charter, the 
principal emigrants drew up and signed a democratic constitution, in the 
cabin of the Mayflower^ for their government, and chose a governor, 
their spiritual head being Elder William BreAvster. These " Pilgrims,'^ 
as they called themselves, landed in the deep snow on the bleak coast of 
Massachusetts late in December, and at a spot which they named New 
Plymouth they built a little village of log-huts and laid the foundations 
of a State. 

This significant movement admonished the Dutch that the English 
were j^reparing to dispute the right of the Hollanders to a foothold 
within the domain embraced in the charter of the Plymouth Company. 
Indeed, at this juncture the Britisli Privy Council had instructed Sir 
Dudley Carleton, the British ambassador at the Hague, to peremptorily 
demand of the States-General an immediate prohibition of any further 
prosecution of commercial enterprises or settlements by the Dutch within 
the region claimed by the English. It was done. The States- General 
having put the whole matter under the control of the then jnst chartered 
Dutch West India Company, paid very little attention to the demand, 
or to the bluster of the British monarch and his ambassador. But the 
company, for obvious reasons, took immediate measures for planting a 
colony and laying the foundations of a State at Aranhattan, 

Like the Plymouth Company, the Dutch West India Company found 
in Holland excellent and ample materials for a colony. Thousands of 



Protestant refugees of French extraction, known as Walloons, had fled 
from fiery persecution in tlie southern Belgic provinces bordering on 
France, and had taken refuge in Holland. They were mostly skilled 
artisans and industrious agri- 
culturists. Like the English 
Puritans in Holland, they 
were animated by a strong 
desire to go to America. Tliey 
asked the Plymouth Com- 
pany for permission to settle 
in Virginia. It was denied. 
They asked the Dutch West 
India Company for a similar 
privilege. The Amsterdam 
Chamber of the company 
gladly complied, and in the 
spring of 1623 they equipped 
the Aew Netherlands of two 
hundred and sixty tons bur- 
den, commanded by Captain 
Adriaen Joris, and sent her to 
Manhattan, bearing thirty 
Walloon families numbering 
one hundred and ten men, 
women, and children.* She 
arrived at Manhattan at the 

beginning of May. The superintendence of the expedition was intrusted 
to Captain Cornelis Jacobsen May,t of Hoorn, who was to remain in 
Tfew Netherland as the first director of the colony. Captain Joris went 
out as his lieutenant in the management of the colony. 

S^^^S^^^^rr; - 


* Tlie Walloons (Flemish, Wcwleii) were of a mixed Gallic and Teutonic blood, 
and most of them spoke the old Teutonic tongue. They inhabited the southern Belgic 
provinces and adjoining parts of France. When the northern provinces of the Nether- 
lands formed their political union, at Utrecht, in 1579, the southern provinces, whose in- 
habitants were chiefly Roman Catholics, declined to join the Confederation. Many of 
the people were Protestants, and against these the Spanish Government at once began the 
most cruel persecutions. Thousands of them fled to Holland, and were welcomed and 
protected. At the time of their dispersion (1580), the Walloons numbered over 2,000,000. 

t May was an active navigator and explorer. He went up the James River as far as 
Jamestown, and penetrated other streams on the coast south of Manhattan. The southern 
coast of New Jersey was named in his honor, and still retains the title of Cape May. 
He was the first director or governor of New Netherland. 


A French vessel had just entered Manhattan liarbor, and lier captain 
insisted upon setting up the French arms and taking possession of the 
country in the name of his sovereign because it was claimed that Yeraz- 
zano, in the employment of a French monarch, had entered the liarbor a 
century before. Now was presented the spectacle of thr^e European 
nations claiming the ownership of an nndefined territory in a wilderness 
more than three thousand miles from their respective capitals, on the 
plea of "first discovery" — tlie robber's right conferred by the mailed 
hands of power. The Dutch, having possession — the "nine points of 
the law" — held on. The Frenchman was driven out to sea by two 
cannons on the little yacht Mackerel, and the English were defied. 

The colonists were soon dispersed and settled in permanent homes. 
Captain Joris, with eighteen families, sailed up the Mauritius as far as 
the site of Albany, where a fort was constructed and named Orange in 
honor of their prince. He left a few settlers at Esopus, now Kingston. 
The colonists built huts, " put in the spade," and began farming vigor- 
ously near Fort Orange. Representatives of Indian tribes came and made 
" covenants of friendship" with Joris. Four couples of the emigrants, 
with eight seamen, went to the Delaware River and settled on the left 
bank four miles below the site of Philadelphia, where Fort Nassau was 
built. Two families and six men were sent to the Connecticut River to 
build a fort (which was named Good Hope) near tlie site of Hartford, 
and to take formal 2:)ossession of the country by virtue of Block's dis- 
covery of that stream in 1614. The remainder of these pioneer colonists 
settled on the site of Brooklyn.''^ Other emigrants from Holland soon 
joined them, and near the site of the Navy Yard at Brooklyn, Sarah 
Rapelye, the first child of European blood born in the province of New 
Netherland, inhaled her first breath. 

In 1624 a shadow of civil government for the Dutch colony M'as 
provided by the installation of Captain Cornelis Jacobsen May as first 
director of New Netherland. He niled as an autocrat wisely for about 
a year, when he was succeeded by William Yerhulst as second director 
of New Netherland. Yerhulst also ruled wisely one year. 

Meanwhile events in Europe were strengthening the jjosition of Hol- 
land and promising increased prosperity to the Dutch West India Com- 
pany. The foreign relations of Great Britain had become so critical that 
King James found it expedient to form an alliance with the Netherlands 
in 1624, and he and his Privy Council wisely concluded that it would be 

* Brooklyn is a corruption of its origiiiiil Dutch aiiiK-lhition, Brcuckdcn — English 
Brooklund or " marshy land" — a pretty village about eighteen miles from Amsterdam, 
on the road to Utrecht. 



wete^ -yfc^vz^ ^ji^ecJtet^l' 

impolitic to offend the powerful commercial company bj acting as cham- 
pions of the Council of Plymouth when they complained of aggressions 
upon their chartered rights. Encouraged by these circumstances, the 
company proceeded to strengthen the political, social, and commercial 
powers of -the new colony by sending more families and also needed 
supplies of stock and implements of labor. They commissioned Peter 
Minuit, of Weser, 
one of their number, 
director-general, or 
governor of Kew 
Netherland, and gave signature of peter minuit. 

him as assistants in 

his civil administration a council of five persons, a " koop man" or 
commissary-general, who was also secretary of the province, and a 
" sellout" or public procurator and sheriff.* 

Minuit arrived in May, 1626, in the ship /Sea Mew, commanded by 
Captain Joris, and began his administration with vigor. He and his 
council were invested with legislative, judicial, and executive power, 
subject to the supervision and appellate jurisdiction of the Chamber at 
Amsterdam. They had power to fine and imprison criminals, but in 
cases where capital punishment was the penalty of a crime the culprit 

was to be sent to Amsterdam. 

Hitherto the Dutch had possession 
of Manhattan Island only by the 
dubious right of first discovery and 
occupation. Minuit proceeded to 
place the right upon the sure founda- 
tion of justice. He called together 
the representatives of the barbarians 
of the island, and made a treaty for 
the purchase of the domain from them 
which was mutually satisfactory. It 
was a treaty as honorable, as impor- 
tant, and as noteworthy as was the 
famous alleged treaty between William 
Penn and the Indians beyond the Delaware under the broad Shackamaxon 
Elm which has been immortalized by history, painting, and poetry. The 
price paid by the Hollanders for the territory, estimated at twenty-two 

* The members of the first council were Peter Byveldt, Jacob Elvertsen Wissinck, Jan 
Janssen Brouwer, Simon Dircksen Pos, and Reynert Harmenssen. Isaac de Rassieres 
was the commissary and secretary, and Jan Larapo was the schout or sheriff. 



tliousand acres in extent, was not extravagant — al)out twenty-four 
dollars, I^early all of the island is now covered by buildings, parks, or 

The territory called New Netherland was created a province or county 
of Holland, and the armorial distinction of an earl or count was granted. 
The seal of New Netherland bore an escutcheon on which was the figure 
of a beaver, emblematic of the chief w^ld animal product of the region, 
and the crest was the coronet of an earl. The organization of a provi- 
sional civil government, the purchase of territory, and the erection of 
New Netherland into a province of Holland, in 1626, is justly regarded 
as the period of the germination of the fruitful seed which has 
expanded into the mighty Empire State of New York. 



So soon as tlie jjurcliase of Manhattan was effected, Director Minuii 
caused a redoubt to be built at the southern extremity of the island 
near the site of the modern Battery and the Bowling Green. It was 
quadrangular in form, was constructed of earth faced with stone, and 
was surrounded with strong palisades of cedar. This redoubt was upon 
an deviation, and commanded the waters of the bay in front and of 
the Hudson (Mauritius) and East rivers on its flanks. The work was 
completed in 1627, and was named Fort Amsterdam, The village that 
grew up near it was called Manhattan until Stuyvesant came, in 1647, 
when it was named Kew Amsterdam. 

Each settler on Manhattan owned the rude house in which he lived. 
It was his inviolable castle. He kept cows, tilled the soil, traded vvith 
the Indians, and deposited his furs in the trading-house, which was built 
of stone and thatched with reeds. This was the embryo of the vast 
warehouses of the city of Isew York. There were no idlers. All were 
producers as well as consumers. In the year in which the fort w^as com- 
pleted furs of the value of nearly $20,000 were sent from Manhattan to 
Amsterdam. The settlers were at peace with all their dusky neighbors, 
and the future of the colony seemed dazzling to the seers. 

But a bright morning is not always a sure harbinger of a pleasant day. 
"While the fort was a-building an event occurred which became the pro- 
genitor of many fearful scenes, and of injuries to the colony. One morn- 
ing a chief from beyond the Harlem Biver, accompanied by his little 
nephew and a young warrior, was sauntering with a bundle of beaver 
skins along the shores of the little lake whose waters once sparkled in 
the hollow where the Halls of Justice (the Tombs), in the city of New 
York, now stand. Three of the director's farm servants robbed them 
and murdered the chief. His nephew fled to the thick woods that 
bordered the East River and escaped. The lad left behind him a curse 
upon the white man, and solemnly vowed vengeance when mature man- 
hood should give him strength. We shall observe hereafter how that 
vow was fulfilled. The surrounding barbarians were made jealous, 
suspicious, and vengeful. 

Trouble now appeared beyond the mountains in the north. Daniel 
van Krieckenbeeck had been made deputy-connnissary and connnander 


at Fort Orange (now Albany), and managed prudently and successfully 
until he was induced to take a foolish step. The Mohicans had a stock- 
aded village on the opposite side of the river (now East Albany). 
Enmity had suddenly appeared between them and the Mohawks. The 
Mohicans crossed the river and asked the Dutch commander to join 
them in a foray upon the Mohawks. He unwisely assented, and with 
six of his men marched with his dusky allies into the pine woods, where 
they were terribly smitten and dispersed by a band of Mohawks. Krieck- 
enbeeck and three of his men were slain. Distrust of the Dutch by the 
Indians in all that region ensued. The Dutch families fled for safety to 
Manhattan from Fort Orange. Only a small garrison, without women, 
remained. At tlie same time indications of an unfriendly feeling toward 
the Hollanders among tlie Karitans in ^sew Jersey caused the Dutch 
families seated on the left bank of the Delaware River also to flee to 
Manhattan for safety. These unfortunate events severed the links of 
trustful friendchip which had bound the Dutch and Indians, and many 
distressing scenes followed the rupture. Emigration to New Netherland 
was checked for a while, and the tide of its prosperity seemed to be 
" ebbing. 

Meanwhile the Dutch AVest India Company had been gaining great 
accessions of wealth and power by the success of their war-ships against 
Spanish merchantmen. Spain was then at war With Holland. The 
fleets of the two India companies which indirectly governed the State, 
formed the strong right arm of the Dutch naval power at that time. In 
1027 low-born Peter Pietersen Ileyn won the title and official position 
of admiral by his achievements on the coast of Cuba. There he met 
the Spanish " silver fleet" on its way from Yucatan with the spoils of 
plundered princes of Mexico and Peru. He captured the whole flotilla, 
and put almost $5,000,000 in the coffers of Jiis employers. Heyn per- 
ished soon after this victory, and was buried M'ith regal pomp by the 
side of the Prince of Orange (who died in 1C25) in the old church at 
Delft. When the States-General sent a letter of condolence to Ueyn's 
peasant mother, she exclaimed : 

" Ay, I thought that would be the end of him. He \vas always a 
vagabond. He has got no more than he deserved." 

Holland gained the glory of the conquests by the Dutch West India 
Company, while the company itself gained the solid })rofits. In the 
space of two years their ships captured more than one hundred prizes. 
In 1629 the company divided fifty per cent profits. They soon added 
Brazil to their possessions, and gave maritime supremacy to the Nether- 


"Wealth and power made the Dutch West India Company more grasp- 
ing and ambitious. The moderate profits derived from New Nether- 
land appeared insignificant, and they devised new schemes for increas- 
ing their gains. 

The great w^ant of New Netherland was tillers of the soil. A manorial 
plan similar to that already in operation in Holland was devised, and this 
featape-^rf^he old feudal system of Europe was soon transplanted into 
America. It was approved by the States-General. In 1629 tlie College 
of Nineteen issued a " Charter of Privileges and Exemptions," which 
granted to every member of the company extensive domains in New 
Netherland outside of Manhattan Island, with specified benefits, pro- 
vided he should, within the space of four years, place upon his lands so 
granted at least fifty adults as actual settlers, who should become his 
tenants. Such proprietor was constituted the feudal chief of his domain, 
with the title oi patroon — a patron or defender. 

It was provided that the lands of each patroon should be limited to 
sixteen miles in linear extent along one shore of a navigable stream, or 
to eight miles if he occupied both shores ; but he might extend it indefi- 
nitely into the interior. It was also provided that if any proportionally 
greater number of emigrants should be settled by a proprietor, the area 
of his domain should be extended in the same ratio. lie was to be abso- 
lutely lord of the manor, political and otherwise. He might hold in- 
ferior courts for the adjudication of petty civil cases ; and if cities should 
grow up on his domain he was to have power to appoint the magistrates 
and other officers of such municipalities, and have a deputy to confer 
with the governor or first director of New Netherland. 

The settlers under the patroons were to be exempted from all taxation 
and tribute for the support of the provincial government for ten years ; 
and for the same period every man, woman, and child was bound not to 
leave the service of the patroon without his written consent. The colo- 
nists were forbidden to manufacture cloth of any kind on pain of banish- 
ment ; and the company agreed to furnisli them with as many African 
slaves as they ''conveniently could,'' and also to protect them against 
foes. Each colony was bound to support a minister and a school-master, 
and so provide a comforter for the sick and a teacher for the illiterate. 
It was also provided that every proprietor, whether a patroon or an inde- 
pendent settle!', should make a satisfactory arrangement with the Indians 
for the lands they should occupy. It recognized the right of the abo- 
rigines to the soil ; invited independent farmers, to whom a homestead 
should be secured ; promised protection to all in case of war, and encour- 
aged religion and learning. 



There was neither a settled clergyman nor a school-master in the prov- 
ince during Minuit^s administration of six years, but provision was 
made for two " consolers of the sick," whose duty required them to 
read the Scriptures and creeds to the people gathered in a horse-mill on 
Sundays. A bell-tower was erected on the mill, and in it were hung 
some Spanish bells which the company's fleet had captured at Porto 

There was some sharp practice performed by some of the members 
of the Amsterdam Chamber in securing valuable manors. Sanmel 
Godyn and Samuel Blommaert, leading members, bought of the bar- 
barians a tract of land stretching along Delaware Bay from Cape Hin- 
lopen north over thirty miles and two miles in the interior, while the 
charter was under consideration. Soon afterward Killian van Rens- 
selaer, another shrewd director, a wealthy pearl merchant of Amsterdam, 



informed by his friend Krol, the dejDuty secretary and commissary at 
Fort Orange, of the excellence and good situation of the country in that 
vicinity, instructed that friend to purchase a large tract of land of the 
Indians. It was done, and lands were secured on both sides of the river. 
Michael Pauw, another wide-awake director, secured by purchase of the 
barbarians, in a similar manner, a large tract of land in N^ew Jersey, 
opposite Manhattan ; also the whole of Staten Island. 

This adroit forestalling in the purchase of some of the best lands in 
the province as to eligibility of situation — this " helping themselves by 
the cunning trick of mercluuits" — created much ill feeling among the 
members for a while ; but it was allayed by admitting other directors 
into partnership. This concession was necessary in order to secure the 
confirmation of the charter of privileges by the College of Nineteen. 
This done, steps were immediately taken to colonize the manors. That 
of Van Rensselaer was the most extensive. It included a territory on 
both sides of the Mauritius or Hudson River, comprehending a large 



part of (present) Albany, Rensselaer, and Columbia counties. It was 
called the " Colonic of Kensselaerwyck. " 

These patroons — grasping, energetic men — soon gave the company 
great uneasiness. Their large estates once secured, they entered into 
competition with the company in the trade with the Indians. They 
were encouraged by Governor Minuit, who had assisted them in securing 
their estates, and found it profitable to be their friend. The company, 
perceiving this, recalled Minuit in 1631, and the colony remained with- 
out a governor more than two years. 

One of the best, the clearest-headed and most liberal-minded of the 
directors who became a patroon was David Pietersen de Yries, an eminent 
navigator in the service of the 
Dutch East India Company, who 
came to Manhattan at about the 
time when Minuit was recalled, 
and for ten years occupied a 
conspicuous position in the pub- 
lic and private affairs of New 
!Netherland. He was a friend 
of Patroon Godyn, and was 
very active in founding a col- 
ony near the site of Lewis- 
ton, on Delaware Bay, which 
was named Swaanendael. The 
Dutch took possession of the 
country in the name of the 
States-General. There thirty 
emigrants, with cattle and im- 
plements, were seated, but they 

were murdered by the Indians the next year, and their dwellings were 
laid in ruins. 

In the spring of 1633 Walter van Twiller, a narrow-minded clerk in 
the company's warehouse at Amsterdam, who had married a niece of 
Yan Rensselaer and had served that director well in shipping cattle to 
his manor on the Hudson River, succeeded Minuit as governor. Accord- 
ing to all accounts, he was a most absurd man in person, character, and 
conduct. Washington Irving, in a pleasant pen caricature of him, 
described his pqrson as " exactly five feet six inches in height and six 
feet five inches in circumference ;" his head " a perfect sphere ;" " his 
face a vast expanse, unfurrowed by any of those lines and angles which 
disfigure the human countenance with what is termed expression," and 




^A^^'^'^ A^<>tM^ 


his cheeks " were curiously mottled and streaked with dusky red, like a 
Spitzenberg apple. " He "daily took four stated meals, appropriating 
exactly one hour to each ; smoked and doubted eight hours, and slept 
the remaining twelve of the f our-and-twenty. " 

Van Twiller was totally unfitted by nature and education for the posi- 
tion he was placed in. He was self-indulgent to the last degree, and 
was profoundly ignorant of public affairs ; yet during his administration 

the colony flourished in 
spite of him. He came 
attended by about one 
hundred and forty sol- 
diers, the first that ap- 
peared in the colony. 

With Governor Van 
Twiller came the Rev. 
Everardus Bogardus, 
tlie first clergyman seen 
in New Netherland ; 
also Adam Roelandsen, the first school-master in the colony. Bogardus 
was a man of energy. He was bold and faithful, and did not hesitate 
to reprove the governor for his shortcomings in duty, official, moral, and 
religious. On one occasion he called him a " child of the devil " to his 
face and before high officials, and told him that if he did not behave him- 
self he would " give him such a shake from the pulpit" the next Sun- 
day as would make him tremble like a bowl of jelly. 

Trouble with 
the English began 
with the advent 
of Van Twiller. 
A former commis- 
sary at Fort Or- 
ange (now Albany) 
named Eelkens, 
who had been dis- 
missed from the company's service, M'ent to England and, in the 
employ of London merchants, sailed for the Hudson River in the ship 
Willimn, determined to trade with the Indians in its upper waters, 
with whom he was acquainted. Van Twiller forbade his ascending the 
river. Eelkens, knowing the weakness of the governor, treated him 
with scorn. Van Twiller, mildly offended, caused the Orange flag to be 
unfurled over Fort Amsterdam and a salute of three guns to be fired in 



honor q$ the Prince of Orange to fill the intruder with terror. Eelkens, 
not at all dismayed, ran up the British flag, fired three guns in lionor of 
Charles of England, and sailed up the river. 

For once Yan Twiller seemed to be really angry. lie gathered the 
garrison at the door of the fort, tapped a cask of wine, filled capacious 
glasses, swore terribly in Low Dutch, and called upon the people, who 
stood laughing in his face, to assist him in wiping out this stain upon 
the honor of himself and Holland. De Yries, who dined with the gov- 
ernor that day, told him he had acted like a fool. Van Twiller did not 
deny that he was a fool, and meekly assented to the demand of the fiery 
captain that an expedition should be sent to bring Eelkens back, and 
thus vindicate the lionor and courage of the State. Yan Twiller hesi- 
tated long, but finally sent a small flotilla fairly armed, and at the end 
of a month from the day when the offence was committed the William 
was brought back and driven out to sea. Eelkens was foiled. This was 
the first hostile encounter between the Dutch and English in New 
I^etherland. The William was the first English ship whose keel 
ploughed the waters of the Hudson River. 

Already a little cloud had brooded in the east. When the Puritans 
of Massachusetts were assured of the beauty and fertility of the soil of 
the valley of the Connecticut Pi ver, they yearned for its possession. The 
Dutch had already assumed that right, in accordance with the British 
doctrine of first discovery ; for, as we have seen, Adriaen Block dis- 
covered the Connecticut River nearly six years before the Puritans came 
1o Cape Cod Bay. The Dutch had obtained a more righteous title by a 
purchase of the whole Connecticut Yalley from the barbarians. They 
had set up the arms of Holland on a tree at the mouth of the river, and 
had nearly completed the fort a little below the site of Hartford, and 
named it " Good Hope." 

Unmindful of the claims of the Dutch, the Plymouth Company 
granted a charter to certain parties to settle in the lovely Connecticut 
Yalley. During the bland Indian summer in 1633 a small company of 
Puritans under Captain Holmes sailed up the Connecticut in a sloop, 
with the frame of a house all prepared for erection, to plant a settlement 
on the shore of that stream. The energetic commissary, Jacob van 
Curler (or Corlear), was then at the fort, on which were mounted two 
cannons. He demanded a sight of Holmes's commission, and on his 
refusal to show it Yan Curler forbade his going further up the river, 
and threatened him with destruction if he should attempt to j^ass the 
fort. The Yankee filibuster was as careless as a Turk of the shotted 
cannon. He sailed quietly by, while the Dutch " let the shooting 






stand." Holmes and his little party soon landed, and on the site of 
"Windsor, just above Hartford, they erected their house and planted the 
seed of an English colony. The Dutch and English quarrelled concern- 
ing the ownership of the Connecticut Valley for about twenty years, 
when the question was amicably settled. The Dutch withdrew, and the 
present line between ^ow York and Connecticut was established as the 
eastern boundary of New Netherland. 

The new State yet lacked a prime element of perpetuity. There were 
no independent farmers in New Netherland cultivating their own lands, 
for the soil belonged to the Dutch West India Company, excepting that 
of the patroon estates. These wealthy monopolists carried on all agricul- 
tural operations off the public domain. The tiller might own his house, 
but he held no fee-title to the soil. Thousands of fertile acres in the 
province remained uncultivated, for commercial advantages alone occu- 
pied the attention of the company. The feudal system, internal discord 
between the patroons and the officers of the company, and external 
dangers began to repress the energies of the people before the end of 
Yan Twiller's administration. Many were sighing for "fatherland." 

The machinery of 
the local govern- 
ment generally 

^a^(zy/^//^z.^^wy^ ^"^""^ sluggishly 

and often viciously. 
The governor lost 
all personal influ- 
ence, and became a 
target for coarse 
jests. We have seen how Dominie Bogardus treated him. His own 
subordinates treated him with equal contempt. The schout-fiscal, Lub- 
bertus van Dincklagen, one of the most learned and honest men 
among them, reproved him openly. 

Yan Twiller ventured to strike back in this case, but the blow he gave 
Yan Dincklagen proved to be like that of a boomerang. It wounded 
the governor himself most seriously. His blow consisted in refusing to 
pay the schout-fiscal his salary, which was in arrears three years, and 
sending him to Holland in disgrace. It was a sad» day for the governor 
when Yan Dincklagen departed, for the schout-fiscal was a man of pluck, 
and held a ready pen. He sent such damaging memorials to the States- 
General, the truths of which were verified by the testimony of De Yries 
before the Amsterdam Chamber, that Yan Twiller was recalled at the 
moment when he had purchased Nutten and other islands around Man- 




hattan,"^ in expectation of vegetating and djing in official dignity in New 

We have no memorial of Yan T wilier left in the name of any State, 
village, institution, water-craft, or domain excepting the isle of Nuts, 
which lies in the bay of New York, within earshot of the place of his 
final departure for the Zuyder Zee. It is called " The Governor's 
Island " to this day. At his departure he was one of the most extensive 
land-owners in the province, and the herds of cattle which stocked his 
farms gave occasion for the suspicion that the governor had enriched 
himself at the expense of the company's interests.* 

Yan Twiller was succeeded by William Kieft, a man of great energy, 
but lacking in moral qualities. Little is known of him before his 
.appearance at New Amsterdam. He had lived in Rochelle, in France, 
where, for some misdemeanor, the people hung him in effigy. De Yries, 
who knew him well, ranked him among the " great rascals of the age." 
He was energetic, spite- 
ful, and rapacious ; fond 
of quarrels, and never 
happy except when in 
trouble — the reverse of 
Yan Twiller, who loved 
ease and quiet. His first 
council was composed of 
men of similar humor. 

Kieft began his ad- 
ministration by concen- 
trating all executive pow- 
er in his own hands. He and his council assumed so much dignity that it 
became a " high crime to appeal from the judgments" of the governor 
and his subordinate officials. Yet he was really a better man for the 
company and the people than his predecessor. He was as busy as a 
brooding hen, and attempted reforms in government, society, and relig- 
ion on a scale altogether beyond the capacities of himself and his " sub- 
jects," as he sometimes styled tlie people. He had an exalted opinion 


* Van Twiller was a native of Nieuwkerk. He married a niece of Patroon Van Rens- 
selaer, through whose influence the incompetent clerk was appointed governor. Recalled 
in 1637, he publicly abused the Dutch West India Company after his return to Holland with 
considerable wealth. He vilified the administration of Stuyvesant. The company were 
indignant, and spoke of Van Twiller as an ungrateful man, who had " sucked his wealth 
from the breast of the company which he now abuses." Van Rensselaer seems to have 
had confidence in him, for he made Van Twiller executor of his last Will and Testament. 


of Miniiit as a governor, and lie resolved to imitate his example ; but 
Minnit became the bane of his peace almost from the beginning. 

Kieft found public affairs in New Netherland in a wretched condition, 
and he j^ut forth strength to bring order out of confusion. Abuses 
abounded, but measures of reform which he adopted almost stripped the 
citizens of their privileges. Fort Amsterdam was repaired, and new 
warehouses for the company were erected. lie caused orchards to be 
planted and gardens cultivated on Manhattan, He had police ordinances 
framed and enforced. He caused religion and morality to be fostered, 
regular religious services to be publicly conducted, and a spacious stone 
church to be built within the fort, in the wooden tower of which were 
hung the Spanish bells already mentioned as giving out their chimes 
from the bell-tower of the horse-mill. It was a gala day in New Am- 
sterdam (1642) when the Connecticut architects, John and Richard 
Ogden, hung those bells, and the governor gave a supper to the builders 
and the magnates of the village at his harhenj for strangei-s, a stone 
building at the head of Coenties Slip, which was called the " City Tav- 
ern" in Stuyvesant's time.* 

A more liberal policy in respect to private ownership of land (to be 
mentioned presently) caused immigration to increase. The freedom of 
conscience which prevailed in the Fatherland prevailed also in New 
Netherland. All that Kieft required of new settlers was an oath of 
allegiance to the States- General of Holland. When they could answer 
the question affirmatively, " Do you want to buy land and become a 
citizen ?" it was the extent of the catechism. 

Kieft had eaten but few dinners at New Amsterdam when he was 
informed of the impertinence of the Swedes in buying enough land 
between two trees to build a house upon, and then claiming the whole 
territory w^est of the Delaware from Cape Ilinlopen to the falls at 
Trenton ; lands the most of which were already in possession of patroons. 
Upon what foundatioTi was this claim laid ? Let us see. 

Usselincx, the original projector of the Dutch "West India Company, 
had left Amsterdam in a passion, and laid before Gustavus Adolplms, 

* The shrewd governor took advantngc of llie occasion of a wedding feast to secure 
ample subscriptions for the buihling of the cliurch. It was the wedding of a da\ighter 
of Dominie Bogardus. At the wedding feast, at wliidi the principal peoi)le of Manhattan 
were gathered, after " the fourth or fifth round of drinking," Kieft proix)sed a subscrip- 
tion for the clun-ch, and gave liberally himself. All the company, with light heads 
made dizzy with drink, vied with each other in " subscribing richly." Some of them, 
when they became sober, " well repented of their reckless extravagance," but " nothing 
availed to excuse it. ' ' 


King of Sweden, the great cliampion of Protestantism, a well-arranged 
plan for establishing a Scandinavian colony on the South or Delaware 
^X ~" River. Gustavus was delighted, for it promised an asylum in America 
for all persecuted Protestants. But while the scheme was ripening the 
Swedish monarch was called to the field, where he fell in battle, near 
Lutzen. He did not forget the great prospective enterprise. Only a 
few days before his death he recommended it as " the jewel of his 
kingdom." The Count of Oxenstierna, who ruled Sweden in behalf of 
Christina, the daughter of Gustavus — " the sweet little jessamine bad of 
the royal conservatory" (alas ! for its full development) — ardently sup- 
ported the enterprise. Four years before the wasp of Rochelle succeeded 
Yan Twiller, Oxenstierna gave a charter to the Swedish West India 
Company, and Peter Minuit, the dismissed Governor of New Nether- 
land, was appointed the first governor of the Swedish colony to be 
founded on the Delaware River. Toward the close of 1637, Minuit 
sailed for the Delaware in the good ship Key of Calmar with a company 
of emigrants. It was this apparition that startled Kieft soon after his 
arrival at Manhattan. 

At first Kieft was astonished, then affronted, and at last he rubbed his 
hands with delight, for he saw a clear opportunity for a quarrel and a 
display of his diplomatic powers. The whole breadth of the present 
State of New Jersey lay between him and the intruders, and that was a 
comfort. He fearlessly issued a proclamation with an imperial flourish, 
protesting against the intrusion and declaring that he would not be 
'* answerable for any mishap, bloodshed, trouble, or disaster" which the 
Swedes might suffer from his anger and valor. 

Minuit laughed at Kieft and went on to build a stronghold on the 
site of Wilmington, which he named Fort Christina, in honor of his 
young queen, and pushed a profitable trade with the Indians. The 
fiery Kieft hurled protest after protest against the Swedes, but they 
were as little heeded as were the paper bulls sent by Clement to bellow 
excommunication through the realm of Henry the Eighth of England. 
Swedish vessels filled with Swedish men, women, and children, intent 
on empire and happiness in America, came thicker than Belgic proc- 
lamations ; and in spite of Kieft's majesty, the Scandinavian colonists 
laid the foundations of the capital of " New Sweden" on an island not 
far from the site of Philadelphia. More than forty years before Penn, 

' ' the Quaker, came, 
To leave his hat, his drab, and his name. 
That will sweetly sound from the trump of fame 
Till its final blast shall die, ' ' 



they spread the tents of empire on the soil where now flourish in regal 
pride the commonwealths of Pennsylvania and Delaware. 

Tlie English on the east became as troublesome as the Swedes on the 
soutli. Like busy ants they were spreading over the fertile lands west 
of the Housatonic River, and under the provisions of a charter given to 
Lord Stirling by the Council of Plymouth, they actually claimed the 
whole of Long Island. They disregarded Dutch proclamations and 
Indian title-deeds. Filibusters from Massachusetts cast down the amis 
of Holland which had been set up at Cow Bay on the island, and mocked 
the officials at Manhattan. 

Kieft with great energy soon put an end to these encroachments. He 
bought for the company from the Indians all the territory comprised 
within present Kings and Queens counties, and immediately planted 
settlements within that domain. Colonies were established on Staten 
Island and on the west side of the Hudson River ; while settlements 

were made by the English on the eastern 
portions of Long Island without interference 
by the Dutch. 

Lyon Gardiner, the English military com- 
mander at the mouth of the Connecticut River, 
bought of the barbarians the island that bears 
his name. He removed from Saybrook to 
his island, where his wife gave birth to a 
daughter, and so the first permanent English 
settlement was made within the present limits 
of the State of Xew York. Peace might long 
have reigned in Kew Netherland had not 
acquisitiveness arisen in rebellion against justice, and engendered a ter- 
rible storm of vengeance among the dwellers of the forest. 

The partiality of the Dutch for the Mohawks made the River Indians 
(as the dwellers along the Hudson south of Fort Orange were called) 
jealous, and their friendship for the white people was greatly weakened 
by the dishonesty of traders, who stupefied them with rum and then 
cheated them in traffic. Kieft not only winked at these things, but, 
under tlie false plea of " express orders" from his principals, he de- 
manded tribute of furs, corn, and wampum from the tribes around Man- 
hattan. They sullenly complied, but with an inward protest against 
this rank injustice. When they cast the costly tribute at the feet of the 
Hollanders they turned away with a curse bitter and uncompromising. 

AVhcn the governor clearly perceived this black cloud on the brows of 
the barbarians, surcharged with the lightnings of vengeance, his fears 



and iiis cruelty were awakened. With the usual instinct of a bad nature, 
he sought an opportunity to injure those he had deeply wronged. The 
opportunity w^as not long delayed. Some swine had been stolen from 
a plantation on Statcn Island. Kieft charged the innocent Raritans 
with the theft, and sent armed men to chastise them. Several Indians 
were killed. This outrage kindled the anger of all the surrounding 
tribes, even beyond the Hudson Highlands. 

At this juncture the little nephew of the "Westchester chief who had 
been murdered by Minuit's men fifteen years before had grown to lusty 
manhood, and proceeded to execute his vow of revenge made when he 
saw his uncle slain near the spot wdiere the Halls of Justice now stand. 
He came to Manhattan, crept stealthily to the solitary cabin of Claas 
Schmidt, a harmless wagon-maker at Turtle Bay, on the East River, 
slew him with an axe, and plundered his dwelling. Kieft demanded 
the murderer from his tribe. His chief refused to give him up. Here 
was a cause for war. Kieft chuckled with delight ; but cooler heads 
and better hearts averted a dire calamity. The people absolutely refused 
to shoulder their fire-arms at the governor's bidding, and said to him 
plainly : 

" You wish to have war that you may make a wrong reckoning with 
the company. " 

Kieft had stormed and threatened, but this unexpected revelation of 
the people's insight into his real character suddenly transformed the 
bullying autocrat into a seeming republican. He called together all the 
masters and heads of families ostensibly to consult upon public affairs. 
It was only to make them unconscious cat's-paws in the prosecution of 
his designs, and have them bear a part of the responsibility. 




In 1640 a new charter for patroons was granted which greatly modified 
the obnoxious features of that of 1629. It allowed " all good inhabitants 
of the Netherlands to select lands and form colonies in NewNetherland." 
The proposed land grants were comparatively small in extent, compre- 
hending only two miles along the shores of any bay or river, and extend- 
ing four miles into the country. These inferior patroons were endowed 
with many of the privileges of the superior patroons. 

Provision was also made for another class of proprietors. "Whoever 
should convey to New Netherland five grown persons besides himself 
was to be recognized as a " master or colonist," and could occupy two 

hundred acres of land, with 
the privilege of hunting and 
fishing. Commercial privi- 
leges, which the first char- 
ter had restricted to the 
j)atroons, were now extend- 
ed to all " free colonists." 
These wiser provisions, not- 
withstanding onerous im- 
posts for the benefit of the 
company were exacted from 
the colonists, stimulated emigration and promised perpetuity and pros- 
perity to the province. 

Meanwhile the Colonic of Rensselaerwyck had greatly prospered 
under the energetic management of the patroon's commissary, Arendt 
van Curler.* Around Fort Orange within that domain had grown a 


* Arendt van Curler is represented as a man " of large benevolence and unsullied 
honor, " bold and energetic, to whom the patroon delegated his entire power at Rens- 
selaerwyck. His jurisdiction included all the territory on both sides of the Hudson River, 
between Beaver Island and the mouth of the Mohawk River, excepting the precinct of 
Fort Orange. This post, which was the property of the Dutch West India Company 
when the first purchases in the neighborhood were made by Van Rens.selaer, was always 
occupied by a small garrison commanded by officers under the immediate direction of 
the provincial authorities at Manhattan. 

Van Curler or Corlear was one of the best and most sagacious of the earlier founders 
of New York State. He was a first cousin of the first Patroon Van Rensselaer, and 



little village called Beverswyck. This was the beginning of the city of 
Albany, now the political capital of the State of New York. 

Patroon Yan Rensselaer through Commissary Yan Curler was begin- 
ning to exercise power 
almost co-ordinate with 
that of the director-gen- 
eral or governor at Man- 
hattan. He had his 
koop-man, his scliout- 
fiscal, and his council 
under his commissary, 
and he Avas invested with 
power to administer jus- 
tice, pronounce and exe- 
cute sentences for all 
degrees of crime, even 
the penalty of death ; 
and he was tlie executor 
within his domain of all 
the laws and ordinances 
of the civil code that 

governed New Netherland. In addition to this, the colonists upon his 
great manor were subjected to such laws and regulations as the patroon 
or his deputy might establish. They had the legal right to appeal to 
the governor and Council at Manhattan ; but this right was virtually 
annulled by the obligation under which the colonists upon the manor were 
compelled to come — namely, not to appeal from the manorial tribunals. 


came to America in 1630. His wise and humane treatment of the Indians caused him to 
be beloved by them all, and his policy toward them did more to secure a peaceful settle- 
ment of the Mohawk Valley by the white people than the efforts of any other man. The 
first act of the English governor after the conquest of the domain from the Dutch in 
1664 was to send for Curler, to profit by his advice concerning an Indian policy. He 
was an efficient promoter of sobriety, morality, and religion. Returning from a visit to 
Canada on the invitation of the governor, in 1667, his boat was capsized in a squall on 
Lake Champlain, and he was drowned. For a long period the lake was known to the 
English as Curler's or Corlear's Lake. 

* The first church edifice built at Albany was a Avooden structure thirty-four feet long 
by nineteen wide. It stood among other buildings clustered around Fort Orange. It had 
pews for the magistrates and deacons, and nine benches for the congregation. The ex- 
pense of all was thirty-two dollars. In 1656 a larger church was built of stone at the 
junction of (present) State Street and Broadway. Its pulpit and bell were sent over by 
the Dutch West India Company. It served the congregation a century and a half, or 
until 1806. One of its windows bore the arms of the Van Rensselaer family. 



Ill government, as in otlier matters, the Van Rensselaer Manor or 
Colonic of Rensselaerwyck exhibited some of the most conspicuous 
features of feudalism. It was almost an autocracy within a State, and 
as such it sometimes gave much trouble to the superior authorities at 
Manhattan. Only Fort Orange and its immediate surroundings were 
exempt from the patroon's control. 

Impressed with the necessity of sound religious instruction in his 
colony, Patroon Van Rensselaer, in 1642, sent to Rensselaerwyck John 
Megopolensis, D.D., a learned clergyman belonging to the classis of 
Alckmaer. A substantial church edifice was constructed, and very soon 
a flourishing church was established upon the theological foundation 
formulated by the Synod of Dordrecht. The influence of Dr. Mego- 
polensis on the Hollanders and the Indians was most salutary. 

Soon after the arrival of this minister an 
occasion tested the humanity, the toleration, 
and the broad Christianity of the Dutch. A 
Jesuit missionary (Father Jogues) and two 
other Frenchmen were taken prisoners by the 
Iroquois and conducted to the Mohawk 
country, where they frequently suffered tor- 
tures. Informed of this. Van Curler attempted 
to rescue them. With two others lie rode on 
horseback into the Mohawk country, where 
they were joyfully received, for the commis- 
sary was beloved by the Mohawks. He 
offered munificent ransoms for the Frenchmen, 
but the Indians refused to give them up. 
The Ijarbarians saved the life of Father 
Jogues, but murdered his companions. He 
finally escaped to Fort Orange, went to 
Europe, returned to Canada in 1G46, ventured among the Mohawks as 
a missionary, and was slain by them at Caughnawaga soon after- 

The " free colonists," as we have observed, were the " masters" who, 
with the " heads of families," were called in consultation with the gov- 
ernor concerning an attack upon neighboring Indians. By this act the 
ambitious Kieft, who strove to exercise the powers of an autocrat in the 
government of New Netherland, unwittingly planted the first seeds of 
democracy — the first germ of representative government among Euro- 
peans within the domain of the State of New York. The " masters and 
heads of families" who came together at the bidding of the governor in 




tlie summer of 1641. cliose twelve discreet men as a committee to act 
for them. 

The~'names of the members of this first representative assembly ever 
convened for poh'tical purjDoses in New Netherland should never be for- 
gotten. The V were : Jacques Bentyn, 
Maryn Adriaensen, Jan Jansen Dam, 
Hendrick Jansen, David Pietersen de 
Yries, Jacob Stoffelsen, Abraham 
Molenaar, Frederick Lubbertsen, Jo- 
chem Pietersen Kuyter, Gerrit Dirck- 
sen, George Rapelye, and Abram 
Planck. They were all emigrants 
from Holland, and had enjoyed the 
blessings of popular freedom in that 
garden of AVestern Europe. They 
were the first representatives and as- 
serters within the boundaries of New 
York of the germinal doctrines of 
the Declaration of Independence pro- 
mulgated at Philadelphia, more than 
sixscore years afterward. 

The Committee of Twelve chose 
the energetic De Yries for their president. lie had suffered deeply 
from the barbarians in the destruction of Swaanendael, on the Delaware, 
and had lost much property by their depredations on Staten Island, yet 
both humanity and expediency counselled him to preserve peace with 
the Indians. This condition he strenuously advocated. His colleagues 
agreed with him, and the sanguinary governor was astonished and 
puzzled. The senators were firm, and hostilities were deferred. 

Meanwhile the Committee of Twelve were busy in maturing a plan 
for establishing at Manhattan the popular form of government that pre- 
vailed in Holland. Kieft was alarmed, for he perceived that a scheme 
was on foot to abridge the absolute power with which he was clothed. 
He suggested a compromise, and the confiding representatives of the 
people, who met early in 1642, put their trust in his promises. He 
offered concessions of popular freedom on the condition of being allowed 
to chastise the Westchester Indians for the murder of Schmidt. A 
reluctant consent was finally given. When the perfidious governor had 
procured this consent he dissolved the Committee of Twelve, in Feb- 
ruary, 1642, by an arbitrary order, telling them that the business for 
which they had been convened was completed. This done, he forbade 


any popular assemblages thereafter. Thus ended the first attempt to 
establish popular sovereignty in l^ew Netherland. 

Kieft now sent an armed force into Westchester to chastise the Weck- 
quaesgeeks, the tribe of the murderer. Tlie expedition was fruitless, 
and was followed by concessions and a treaty which prevented bloodshed. 
The governor was disappointed, but his bloodthirstiness was partially 
slaked not long afterward. The River Indians were tributary to the 
Mohawks, and at midwinter in 1643 a large war-party of the latter came 
down from near Fort Orange to collect tribute of the Weckquaesgeeks 
in lower Westchester and the Tappans on the west side of the Hudson 

The terrified Algonquins — men, women, and children, fully five hun- 
dred strong — fled before the dreaded Iroquois, and sought refuge with 
the Dutch. Tlie latter now had a rare opportunity to win the sincere 
and lasting friendship of tlieir barbaria-n brethren around them by exer- 
cising the virtues of hospitality, common humanity, and a Christian 
spirit. Such a course De Tries and Bogardus strongly advised ; but 
there were other leading spirits bent on war and revenge who advised 
the very willing governor to improve the occasion for avenging the 
murder of Schmidt. Three of the ex-senators, speaking falsely in the 
name of the Twelve, urged the governor to "fall upon them." The 
governor was delighted, and at once ordered Sergeant Rudolf to lead 
eighty well-armed men across the river and attack the fugitive Tappans, 
w^ho had taken refuge with the Hackensacks at Pavonia or Hoboken, 
near the Dutch settlement of Vriesdael. 

De Vries, representing the majority of the citizens, vainly tried to 
dissuade the governor from his bloodthirsty purpose. He warned him 
that he would bring dire calamity upon the province. The fiery magis- 
trate spurned the captain's advice and admonitions, saying : " The order 
has gone forth ; it cannot be recalled." In that order he impiously 
said the work had been undertaken "in the full confidence that God 
will crown our resolutions with success." 

At the middle of a cold night late in February, 1643, Sergeant Rudolf 
and his men fell upon the defenceless Tappans at Hoboken, who were 
sleeping in fancied security. At the same time Sergeant Adriaensen 
smote the Weckquaesgeeks, who had taken refuge with the Dutch on 
Manhattan at Corlear's Hook, now the foot of Grand Street He killed 
forty of them. Rudolf made the deep snows at Hoboken red with the 
blood of about a hundred unoffending pagans, sparing neither age nor 
sex in the execution of his cowardly master's, will. "Warrior and 
squaw, sachem and child, mother and babe," says Brodhead, " were 



alike massacred." The next morning, when the armed Hollanders 
returned to Fort Amsterdam — a ghastly train — with thirty prisoners and 
the heads of several Indians on pikes, Kieft shook their bloody hands 
with delight, and gave them presents. 

This massacre and other outrages committed by order of Ivieft aroused 
the fiery hatred of all the surrounding tribes. A fierce war was kindled. 
Villages and farms were desolated. The white people were butchered 
wherever found by the enraged barbarians.* The Long Island Indians, 
hitherto friendly, joined their dusky kindred, and the very existence of 
the colony was imperilled. 

The fierce blaze kindled by the folly and wickedness of Kieft appalled 
him. He again called upon the " Commonalty" to appoint a committee 
to consider propositions 
which he would lay before ^ — ^ , _^ 

them. They choose eight ^^tUJiC' i^/>^77 

men, one of whom was /l^ y CA-^ijfl ^^^ 

Isaac Allerton, a passenger / / ^"i^y^ 

in the Mayflower^ who was \y 

then a prosperous merchant ' signature ov isaac ai.i.ekton. 

at Manhattan. The Coun- 
cil of Eight counselled peace with the Long Island tribes and war 
upon the Westchester Indians, who had desolated settlements and planta- 
tions there. It was done. 

* Among the victims was Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, wlio was an advocate of the right of 
private judgment in religious matters, and had been banished from Boston because it was 
said .she was " wealiening tlie hands and hearts of the people toward the ministers," 
and was "like Roger Williams, or worse." She went to Rhode Island, but found her 
abode there undesirable, so she sought the protection of the more tolerant Dutch for the 
exercise of soul libe^tJ^ In the .summer of 1642 .she removed, with all her family, to Pel- 
ham Neck, in Westchester County, within the Dutch domain. It was near New Rochelle, 
and the spot was called " Annie's Hoeck." The Dutch named Westchester " The Land 
of Peace." In the fierce war of 1643 the widowed Anne Hutchinson and all her family, 
excepting a little granddaughter, eight years old, were murdered by the Indians. The 
child was made a captive, and was ransomed by the authorities at Manhattan. 

Lady Deborah Moody, an Englishwoman, wiio, like Mrs. Hutchinson, had fled from 
persecution at Salem, established herself at Gravesend, on the w^estern end of Long 
Island. She had scarcely become settled before the Indians attacked lier plantation. 
Forty resolute colonists bravely defended it, and drove the assailants away. Gravesend 
escaped- the fate that befell all the neighboring settlements on Long Island. Two years 
afterward Kieft granted Lady Moody, her son. Sir J. Henry Moody, and others a patent 
for land adjoining Coney Island, now known as Gravesend. She and other inhabitants 
were allowed to nominate their magistrates. Her home was again attacked by the bar- 
barians during the excitement while Stuyvesant was on his expedition against the Swedes, 
in 1655. 


War raged fearfullj again, and the colony, after a dreadful struggle, 
was on the verge of ruin. At length a company of Englishmen under 
Captain John Underhill, a brave and re^less soldier of New England 
then living at Stamford, Conn., was called to the assistance of the 
Dutch. Tlie Indians were subdued, and peace M-as partially restored. 
Yet the dreadful war-cloud hung ominously over the Hollanders, charged 
with the lightnings of suppressed wrath. Kieft trembled at the aspect, 
and again convoked the Council of Eight. The people had lost all con- 
fidence in the governor— nay, they despised and hated him. Their hopes 
in this hour of tlieir distress rested solely upon their representatives, the 
Council of Eight. But tliat council possessed no legal executive power, 
and the stubborn governor seldom followed their advice. Retrievement 
seemed almost hopeless. Distant settlements remained desolated. Dis- 
order everywhere prevailed. The Swedes were building up a strong 
empire on the southern borders of New Netherland, and the Puritans 




were not only claiming absolute title to undoubteil Dutch territory, but 
many of them were becoming citizens under the liberal charter of the 
company, and were wielding much influence in social life at Manhattan. 
At this juncture, and in order to invoke wholesome interference with 
Kieft's destructive policy, the Council of Eight addressed a memorial to 
the States-General, giving a full account of jsublic affairs in the province, 
and asking the recall of the obnoxious governor. At this juncture also 
De Yries, one of the best and most useful citizens, who had been ruined 
financially by the war, left the province forever and returned to Hol- 
land.* On taking leave of Kieft his last words addressed to the governor 

* De Vrics liad accepted an invitation from a Rotterdam skipix>r to pilot his vessel, 
laden with Madeira wine, from Mauliattan to Virginia. They stopped on the way at 
the capital of New Sweden, where De Vries was hospitably entertained by the governor 
(Printz) for five days, while the skipper traded wine and confectionery for l)caver-skins. 
De Vries spent the winter in Virginia, and reached Amsterdam in Juno. 1644. He 
seems never to have revisited America. His story of his Voyngex was publishetl at 
Alckmaer, in 1655, with a portrait of liim. It was tran.slated into English by the lat« 
Henry C. Murphy, of Brooklyn, and has been of essential service in the pi'oparation of 
this volume. 


Tittered the awful prophecy : " The murders in which you have shed so 
mucli innocent blood will yet be avenged upon your own head." 

The people endured the rule of Kieft until it could not be longer 
borne with safety to the colony, and the Council of Eight, representing 
the coinmonalty, addressed a second memorial to the States- General and 
the College of Nineteen, in which they set forth in detail the causes 
which threatened the absolute ruin of New Netherland,^' They said in 
conclusion : 

" This is what w^e have, in the sorrow of our hearts, to complain of : 
That one man, who has been sent out, sworn and instructed by his lords 
and masters, to whom he is responsible, should dispose here of our lives 
and property according to his will and pleasure, in a manner so arbitrary 
that a king would not be suffered legally to do." They asked for a 
better governor for the colonists or permission to return with their 
" wives and children to their dear Fatherland." 

The Dutch West India Company was then nearly bankrupt. Immediate 
action was necessary to avert the absolute ruin of New Netherland and 
to prevent the colonists 

"returning with their ^. \ i 

wives and children to U i/H^v^j.X^jJ^ ^WUS-A , 

their dear Fatherland." L^t-<^C> ^ ^^V '^ 

The company resolved ^ ^ 


to recall Kieit, and 

"Van Dincklagen, Van 

Twilier's disgraced schout-fiscal, was made provisional governor. The 

people at Manhattan were greatly delighted when they heard of the 

intended change. Some pugnacious burghers threatened Kieft with 

personal chastisement when he should " take oif the coat with which he 

was bedecked by the lords his masters." 

During Kieft's administration the Swedes had obtained a firm foot- 
hold on the Delaware. They claimed territorial jurisdiction on the right 
side of tlie Delaware Bay and Kiver from Cape Ilinlopen to the falls at 

* It was written by Cornelis Melyn, one of the Eight Men, who en me to Manhattan in 
1640 to see the country, and was so much pleased with it that he hastened to Antwerp to 
bring his family to America. He afterward rose to prominence in New Netherland. He 
was President of the Council of Eight. He had become a patroon of Staten Island, and 
began a colony there. He suffered much in body and estate under Kieft, and brought 
his grievances before the States -General. He was a stubborn subject under Stuyvesant, 
and resisted the director's arbitrary power. He finally (1G81) surrendered his manor 
into the hands of the Dutch West India Company for a consideration, and returned to 


Governor Miniiit died at Fort Christina in 1642. Ilis lieutenant, 
Peter Ilollandare, at the end of a year and a half afterward returned to 
Sweden, when the queen commissioned John Printz, a lieutenant of 
cavalry, governor of New Sweden, and furnished him with officers and 
soldiers to support his authority. 

Printz arrived at Fort Christina early in 1642. He was instructed to 
maintain and cultivate friendship with the Dutch at Fort Nassau and 
Manhattan and the English in Virginia, and not to disturb the Dutch 
settlers within his domain in their forms of divine worship. He made 
Tinicum Island, near Chester, about twelve miles below Philadelphia, 
the capital of New Sweden, built a fort upon it of hemlock logs, which 
he named " New Gottenburg," and erected a dwelling, which was called 
" Printz Hall." He was instructed not to allow any trade in peltries 
excepting by the agents of the Swedish Company, and to secure all the 
Indian trade against the competition of the Dutch. 

The attitude of the Swedes very much disturbed the authorities at 
Manhattan. They were then powerless in regard to the intruders. Added 
to this cause of irritation was the absurd claim of a British baronet (Sir 
Edmund Plowden) to nearly all the territory of New Jersey by virtue 
of a charter granted to him by the Viceroy of Ireland ! The New Eng- 
landers, too, annoyed the Dutch by persistent eflforts to participate in 
the profitable fur trade which the Hollanders were determined to 

Impelled by the force of jjublic opinion and a stern voice of warning 
from the Amsterdam Chamber, Kieft had consented to treat for peace 
with the Indians. Representatives of the surrounding tribes of bar- 
barians had come to Manhattan, and in front of the fort on the spot now 
known as the " Bowling Green" they had sat and smoked the calumet, 
or pipe of peace, and agreed to a treaty of amity between the Dutch 
and themselves. That treaty vvas signed on the last day of summer, 
1645. Then a proclamation went forth from Manhattan for the observ- 
ance of September 6tli as a day of thanksgiving throughout New 
Netlierland. This great Indian treaty was ratified at Amsterdam. 

Kieft exercised his M'aning jjower and indulged his petty spite and 
tyranny a little longer. When it was known that he was to be recalled, 
the people became more outspoken in their utterances of contempt for 
him. Dominie Bogardus was foremost in boldness and plainness of 
speech. " What are the great men of the country," he exclaimed from 
the pulpit one Sunday, " but vessels of wrath and fountains of woe and 
trouble ! They think of nothing but to plunder the property of others, 
to dismiss, to banish, to transport to Holland." The enraged governor, 



who was present, never entered the church again. He retaliated by 
encouraging the pfficers and soldiers to practise all sorts of noisy games 
about the church, and even to beat drums and lire cannons during 

After a little more strife with the Swedes and New Englanders, and 
falsely accusing the people of 
Manhattan of instigating the late 
disastrous war with the Indians, 
Kieft ended his inglorious sojourn 
in America forever by leaving the 
shores of New Netherland in 
August, 1643, in the ship Prin- 
cess bound for Holland, and carry- 
ing with him more than $100,000 
of ill-gotten wealth. Dominie 
Bogardus sailed in the same ship, 
and with about fourscore others 
perished with Kieft when the 
vessel was wrecked. The prophecy 
of De Yries was fulfilled. 

The College of Nineteen had 
changed the mode of government 


in New Netherland to conform 
more nearly to that of Holland. 

All power for the management of the concerns of the colony was vested 
in a Supreme Council composed of a director-general or governor, a vice- 
director, and fiscal or treasurer. At that time Peter Stuyvesant,* a 
Frieslander, a scholar, and a brave soldier in the service of the Dutch 
West India Company, and who had lost a leg in an attack upon the 
Portuguese island of St. Martin, was at Amsterdam receiving surgical 
treatment. He had been governor of the company's colony of Cura^oa, 
in which capacity he had shown great vigor and wisdom. He was then 
forty-four years of age ; strong in physical constitution ; fond of official 

* Peter Stuyvesant was born in Triestan, in 1602. He became a brave soldier in the 
Dutch military service, in the West Indies, and was appointed Governor of Cura<;oa. 
He was a strong-headed and sometimes a wrong-headed official, but ruled with equity 
and fidelity to his country. Made governor of New Netherland in 1645, as " redressor 
general " of all abuses, he became conspicuous for his energy and patriotism. Compelled 
to surrender the province to the English in 1664, he retired to private life. The next 
year he went to Holland to report to his superiors. Returning, he spent the remainder of 
his days at his seat on Manhattan Island, near the East River, where he died in August, 
1682. His remains rest in St. Mark's Churchyard, New York City. 



show ; admiring the arbitrary nature of military rule, under whicli he 
had been educated ; aristocratic in all his notions ; haughty in his 
deportment toward subordinates ; a thorough disciplinarian ; a stern, 
inflexible patriot, and a just and honest man. He was appointed governor 
of New Netherland. lie was not fitted to govern a simple people with 
republican tendencies, yet his administration of the affairs of New 
Netherland for about seventeen years contrasted most favorably with 
those of his predecessors in office, and he became the most renowned of 
the ofiicials of the Dutch West India Company. 

Owing to a disagreement concerning some of the details of policy in 
the management of New Netherland, Stuyvesant did not arrive at Man- 
hattan until late in May, 1647. He bore the commission of director- 
general over New Netlierland and "adjoining places" (New Sweden 
and the Connecticut Valle}'), and also of the islands of Cura9oa, 
Buenaire, Aruba, and their dependencies. He was accompanied by 

Lubbertus van Dincklagen, Van Twiller's 
dismissed schout-fiscal (who had been instru- 
mental in causing the recall of that governor 
and also of Kieft), as vice - director or 
lieutenant-governor. With him also came 
the fiscal, Ilendrick van Dyck, and Com- 
missary Adriaensen. They came with a little 
squadron of four ships, bearing " free colo- 
nists" and private traders. 

The new director-general was received at 
Manhattan with great joy. The arrival was 
on a clear and warm May morning. The whole 
community turned out under arms, and almost exhausted the breath and 
gunpowder of the town in shouting and firing. Stuyvesant marched to 
the fort in great pomp, displaying a silver-mounted wooden leg of fine 
workmanship. After keeping several of the principal inhabitants who 
went to welcome him waiting some hours bareheaded in the sun, while 
he remained covered, " as if he were the Czar of Muscovy," he ad- 
dressed the people. He told them that he should govern them "as a 
father his children, for the advantage of the chartered Dutch West India 
Company and these burghers and their land," and he declared that 
every one should have justice done him. The people went to their 
homes with hopeful anticipations. Yet a few of the more thoughtful 


* Stuyvesant 's official seal was made of silver. The engraving is of the exact size of 
the originiil. As it was his private proixTty, having liad it struck at his own expense, he 
carried it witli liini to New Netherland. 


ones shook their heads in doubt, for they somewhat feared that his 
haughty carriage denoted a despot's will rather than a father's tender 
and affectionate indulgence. 

Stuyvesant was too frank and honest to conceal his opinions and inten- 
tionfe. At the very outset he asserted the prerogatives of the director- 
ship, and frowned upon every expression of republican sentiment. He 
regarded the people as his subjects, to be obedient to his will. In this 
he was not a whit behind his predecessors. On one occasion he declared 
it to be " treason to petition against one's magistrates, whether there be 
cause or not." He defended Kieft's conduct in rejecting the interfer- 
ence of " The Twelve" in public affairs, and plainly told the people : 
" If any one during my administration shall appeal I will make him a 
foot shorter and send the pieces to Holland, and let him appeal in that 
way." "With such despotic sentiments he began his iron rule. 

Stuyvesant was despotic, and yet honesty and wisdom marked all his 
acts. He truly described New Netherland as in " a low condition" on 
his arrival. Excepting the Long Island settlements, scarcely fifty 
bouweries or cultivated farms could be counted ; and the whole province 
could not furnish more than three hundred men capable of bearing arms. 
He set about reforms with promptness and vigor. The morals of the 
people, the sale of liquor to the Indians, the support of religion, and the 
regulation of trade commanded his immediate attention and became sub- 
jects for numerous proclamations and ordinances. It was not long 
before he infused his own energy into the community, and very soon 
the life-blood of enterprise began to circulate freely through every vein 
and artery of society. 

With the same energy Stuyvesant applied himself to the adjustment 
of his " foreign relations." He despatched a courier to Governor Printz, 
of New Sweden, with a decided protest against his occupation of a por- 
tion of the domain of Ncm' Netherland without the consent of the Dutch 
West India Comj^any, and he made arrangements to meet commissioners 
of New England in council to determine the mutual rights of the Dutch 
and English. He treated the surrounding Indians with the utmost 
kindness. Because the new director won the warm friendship of those 
who were lately brooding in sullen hate over the murder of sixteen 
hundred of their people, the foolish story got abroad in the east that 
Stuyvesant was forming a coalition with the Indians to exterminate 
the English ! 

Financial embarrassments in New Netherland at this time were favor- 
able to the implantation and growth of representative government in the 
colony. Since 1477 Holland had maintained the just principle that 


"Taxation and representation are inseparable." The denial of this 
principle as applied to the English-American colonies at near the middle 
of the last century led to a war which dismembered the British Empire 
and gave political independence to the United States. They formulated 
the Holland principle in the grand political postulate : " Taxation with- 
out representation is tyranny," and fought successfully in its defence. 

Stuyvesant dared not tax the colonists without their consent for fear of 
incurring the censure of the States- General. It could be done in only 
one way, and that way he adopted. He called a convention of the 
people and directed them to choose eighteen proper men, nine of whom 
he might appoint as the representatives of the " commonalty" to form 
a co-ordinate branch of the local government. Although their preroga- 
tives were hedged round by provisos and limitations, and the first Nine 
chosen by the governor were to nominate their successors without the 
voice of the commonalty thereafter, this was an important advance 
toward the popular government of later times. 

TuE Nine formed a salutary check upon the director, and kept his 

power -within due 
bounds. They were 
heard with respect in 
the Fatherland, and 
they were ever the 
habitual guardians of 

SraNATURE OP GOVEKT LOOCKEKMAN9. ^^^ ^.j^j^^^ ^f ^^^ ^^^_ 

pie. They had far 
more power than The Twelve or the Eight under Kieft. They 
nourished the prolific germs of democracy which burst into vigorous 
life in the time of Leisler, nearly fifty years later. These senators 
were Augustine Ileermans, Arnoldus van Hardenburg, and Govert 
Loockermans from among the merchants ; Jan Jansen Dam, Jacob 
Wolfertsen van Couwenhoven, and Hendrick Hendricksen Kip from 
the citizens, and Michael Jansen, Jans Evertsen Bout, and Thomas 
Hall from the farmers. 

Soon after his inauguration Stuyvesant sent letters to the governors of 
neighboring colonies expressing his desire to cultivate friendly relations 
with them, at the same time stating the nature of the territorial claims 
of the Dutch, the prolific cause of irritation since the administration of 
Governor Minuit, when the Dutch "West India Company claimed juris- 
diction over the whole valley of the Connecticut, and Dutch trappers and 
traders were seen on the waters of Narraganset and Cape Cod bays. 

When Minuit made overtures to the " Pilgrims" at Plymouth for the 

^z5 cl^^^H-t^L^^^ 


establishment of friendly intercourse, Governor Bradford expressed his 
willingness to do so, but warned the Dutch not to occupy or carry on 
trade in the country north of the fortieth degree of latitude, as it 
belonged to the Council of Plymouth. This excluded the whole of New 
England and more. Minuit, in reply, claimed the right of the Dutch to 
trade with the Narraganset Indians as they had done for years. Brad- 
ford made no response. Finally Minuit sent a deputation (1627) to New 
Plymouth to confer with the authorities there. At their head was 
Rassieres, the Secretary of New Netherland, an accomplished gentleman 
of French blood. They entered New Plymouth with the sound of a 
trumpet which heralded their approach from the little vessel which had 
brought them to that shore. They were kindly received and entertained 
for several days. The special object of the mission was not attained, 
but the deputies made a profitable study of the political and social policy 
of the Puritans. They carried back to Manhattan ideas which, diffused 
among the people there, led in time to an enlargement of their liberties. 
The embassy were accompanied to their vessel by an escort of Puritans. 
At that conference soft words were used by both parties, kindly feel- 
ings were engendered, and w^hile both the Dutch and the English were 
equally resolved to maintain their respective rights, there were no words 
of defiant anger uttered. Their farewell and parting were most friendly. 
Diplomacy and contention between the Dutch and their neighbors con- 
tinued fully twenty years, when the whole matter was settled, as far as 
possible, in 1650. 



Governor Stuyvesant, peacefully inclined, determined to attempt a 
settlement of the disputes between New Netherland and Jsew England 
by diplomacy. lie made arrangements for a conference at Hartford 
between himself and commissioners appointed by the united New Eng- 
land colonies,* Late in September, 1650, accompanied by George 
Baxter, his English secretary, and a large suite, he sailed from Manhat- 
tan, touching at several settlements on the 
shores of Long Island Sound. He arrived at 
)* ^^Cijc4^y^^ Hartford on the fourth day of the voyage. 

Negotiations began on September 23d. 
SIGNATURE OF GEORGE ^ffer a discussion for five days it was agreed 
that " all differences should be referred to 
two delegates on each side." The commis- 
sioners appointed Simon Bradstreet and Thomas Prence, and Stuyvesant 
chose Captain Thomas Willett and Ensign George Baxter, both English- 
men. The referees recommended that a line drawn from the westerly 
side of Oyster Bay directly across Long Island to the sea' should be made 
the boundary between the Dutch on the west side of the line and the 
English on the east side of the line. Also that a line from the west side 
of Greenwich Bay, in Long Island Sound, extending north twenty 
miles, and after that not less than ten 
miles from the Hudson River should y^ 

be the boundary line between New ^^'""if/ I Jt^'i-r/^.C/'-^ 
Netherland and New England on the W^ ^^ l/l/U/UC^^f^r 
mainland. Judgment as to what had ^ 


already happened between tlie Dutch 

and New Haven Colony, in Kieft's time, 

was postponed until advice should be received from Holland. The 

former, regardless of the warnings of Governor Kieft, had bought 

* In 1643 delegates from Connecticut, New Haven, Plymouth, and the General Court 
of Massachusetts assembled at Boston to consider measures against common danger from 
the Dutch on Manhattan and the Indians. Rhode Island, considered .schismatic, was not 
invited to the ("onference. A Confederacy was formed of the colonics named, under the 
title of "United Colonies of New England. " It continued for more than forty years, 


lands of the Indians on both sides of the Delaware within the Dutch 
domain, and proceeded to make settlements there. These settlements 
were speedily broken up by military force. 

-XTlie recommendations of the referees were adopted. The two chosen 
hj Stuyvesant, being Englishmen, his countrymen felt slighted, nay, 
insulted, and accused the governor of partiality for the interests of the 
English and neglect of theirs. They opposed the treaty, and made new 
demands for more popular liberty. 

Having so far settled all diflPerences with the New Englanders, Stuy- 
vesant turned his attention to the Swedes on the Delaware, whom he 
regarded as intruders upon Dutch territory. The accession of a new 
monarch to the throne of Sweden made an adjustment of the long- 
pending dispute desirable. 

Stuyvesant had been directed to act firmly, but discreetly, in the 
matter. Accompanied by his suite of officers, he went to Fort Nassau, 
and thence sent to Governor Printz an abstract of the title of the Dutch 
to the domain, and called a council of the Delaware Indians. Sachems 
and chiefs in the council declared the Swedes to be usurpers, and by a 
solemn treaty gave all the land to the Dutch. Then Stuyvesant crossed 
the river, and near the site of New Castle, Del., built a fort, and named 
it Casimer. Returning he demolished Fort Nassau. Printz protested 
in vain. He and Stuyvesant held friendly conferences, and agreed to 
" keep neighborly friendship and correspondence together." That was 
in the year 1051. 

Meanwhile the director-general had done much to improve his capital, 
which now had a population of nearly seven hundred persons. He 
found it an irregularly built and straggling, village, without sanitary 
appliances and very little government. Each burgher was a law unto 
himself. Various ordinances were now pronmlgated by the governor 
and enforced by him for the regulation of the construction of buildings 
in reference to street lines ; for the maintenance of order, cleanliness, 
and sobriety ; for the prevention of conflagrations, the support of 
religion, the promotion of morality, and the regulation of emigration and 
trade. Scores of other matters for the general good of society were 
attended to by the director-general, until Manhattan was made a very 
pleasant dwelling-place. Though Stuyvesant was a strict member of the 
Dutch Reformed Church, beliefs and divine worship in any form were 
tolerated. With a patriotic feeling the director-general dropped the 
pretty Indian name of the village of Manhattan, and called it New 

Stuyvesant had some unpleasant experience in the spring and summer 


of 1648 with Brandt van Sleclitenliorst,* the patroon's commissary at 
Rensselaer wyck, who assumed an independent position for " the 
Colonie." The director-general issued a proclamation for the observ- 
ance of a fast day throughout Now !Netherland. The patroon's com- 
missary protested against it as an invasion of " the rights of the lord 
patroon." This controversy and the fact that illicit trade was carried 
on with the Colonie induced Stuyvesant to visit Fort Orange at mid- 
summer. He was loyally received at the fort. lie summoned Van 
Slechtenhorst to answer for Jiis contempt of the company's authority. 
The commis&ary answered by complaining of Stuyvesant's infringement 
of the privileges of the patroon. The director- general, incensed by the 
commissary's words and manner, had no further oral communication 
with him, but by writing he forbade him to put up any building within 
the range of the guns of Fort Orange ; to make any new ordinances 
affecting trade with the Colonie without the assent of tlie officers of the 
comjjany, and declared tlie pledge which the patroons exacted from the 
colonists not to appeal from the decisions of the manorial courts a 
" crime." He also demanded from the commissary an annnal return to 
him of all the affairs of the Colonie, Then he returned to Manhattan. 

" You act as if you were the 
lord of the patroon's Colonie," 
was the answer which the stub- 
born commissary sent after the 
SIGNATURE OF VAN SLECHTENHORST. irate director-gcneral, and persist- 

ed in defying that officer's orders. 
He forbade the commissary of the company to quarry stone or cut timber 
within tlie Colonie, and erected houses close by Fort Orange. Stuyve- 
sant sent troops to restrain Van Slechtenhorst and to bring him to 
Manhattan if he would not desist. They failed to do so. Then the 
commissary was ordered by a peremptory summons to appear at Fort 
Amsterdam the next spring. 

In the mean time popular discontents were everywhere manifest. The 
Nine were compelled to act in behalf of the commonalty, but were 

* Van Slechtenhorst was a native of Guelderland, bold, fiery in disposition, self-willed, 
and honest. He had been appointed commissary for the young patroon, whose father, 
Killian van Rensselaer, had lately died. His persistent practical a.ssertion of the inde- 
pendence of Rensselaerwyck made him a rankling thorn in the side of Stuyvesant. 
Among other offences, he acquired a ce.ssion of lands at Kaat.skill, which had already been 
granted, and refused to recede. He also purchased lands at Clavorack, opposite, for the 
patroon. He soon got into trouble, and wius arrested and confined at New Amster- 
dam. He escaped, and sent his son to explore the Ka^itsbergs in .search of silver. He 
bought the land on which the city of Troy now stands, and finally returned to Holland. 



tliwarted at every step by the sturdy director. At the next election 
(1649) tlie energetic Adriaen van der Donck, who had been the schont- 
fiscal of Rensselaerwyck, and Olofi" Stevenson van Cortlandt became 
memoers of the Council of Nine. Stuy vesant stoutly persisted in main- 
taining his dictatorial power. At the same time he carried on controver- 
sial correspondence with the New Englanders, which was terminated by 
the conference at Hartford already mentioned. 

The contest between The Nine and the director continued. The 

^^^^^^N^. ccJLCZ^^^^JU-C^ 



latter proceeded with a high hand. He seized the papers of The Nine 
and imprisoned Yan der Donck for " calumniating the provincial 
officers,'' But the popular desire for reform and freedom could not be 
repressed. Finally The Nine, in the name of the commonalty, pre- 
pared a "Memorial" and a "Remonstrance" to the States-General 
boldly setting forth the grievances of the people and asking for the estab- 
lishment of a burgher government in the colony such as their " High 


Mightinesses should consider adapted to the province and resembling 
somewhat the laudable government of our Fatherland." These papers 
were drawn up by Yan der Donck, and he and two others of The Nine 
took them to Holland to present them in person. 


Again, when Stuyvesant liad concluded liis treaty at Hartford and 
threatened to abolish The Nine and rule as an autocrat, the popular 
representatives presented a statement of affairs in New Netherland to the 
States- General, and Yan der Donck in Holland strongly pleaded the 
cause of the commonalty, who yearned for the freer system of govern- 
ment which prevailed in Kew England. In this memorial and plea Van 
Dinclilagen, the vice-director, and Van Dyke, the fiscal, joined, and 
Melyn, who had been cruelly persecuted by Kieft and Stuyvesant, 
added his powerful support. 

At length, after Stuyvesant had administered the government of 
New Netherland more than four years, continually making arbitrary 
efforts to repress the spirit of popular freedom, the voice of the com- 
monalty of New Amsterdam and its vicinity was heeded by the College 
of Nineteen, and they informed the headstrong director-general, in the 
spring of 1652, that they had given their assent to the establishment of a 
"burgher government" on Manhattan — a government like that of the 


free cities of Holland, the officers, however, to be appointed by the 
governor. The soul of Stuyvesant was troubled by this '* imprudent 
intrusting of power with the people," as he said. 

In February, 1653, New Amsterdam was formally organized as a city 
by the installation of Cornelis van Tienhoven,* sellout ; Arendt van 
Hattem and Martin Kregier, burgomasters^ and Paul L. Yan der Grist, 
Maximilian van Gheel, Allard Anthony, William Beeekman, and Peter 

* Van Tienhoven was a conspicuous character in the early history of New Netherland. 
He came witli Van Twiller, became the company's book-keeper, and afterward provincial 
secretary and schout-fiscal. He purcliased lands in Westchester, led an exjx'dition against 
tlie Raritans, made a treaty at Bronx River, and urged Kieft to attack the Indians. 
Retained as provincial secretary by Stuyvesant, the latter sent him to Holland as his rep- 
resentative. He was sent to negotiate with Virginia, also to New Haven for the same 
purpose. He superintended the South River Expedition against the Swedes in 1655. In 
1656 he, a schout-flscal, was charged with malfeasance in office ; so also was his brother, 
and both were dismissed from the public service, when Cornelis returned to Amster- 



Wolfertsen van Couwenhoven, schepens.^ Jacob Kip was appointed 
secretary to the municipal government. A building known as the City- 
Tavern, standing at the head of Coenties Slip, which had been taken for 
the public use, was now named the State House or City Hall.f The 
citj^ then contained about seven hundred and fifty inliabitants, and 
embraced the whole island of Manhattan. 

Stuyvesant had scarcely recovered from his chagrin at this turn in 
public affairs when, through the influence of tlie democratic Van der 
Donck, he was summoned to appear before the States-General to answer 
concerning his government in New Ketherland. This summons amazed 
the Amsterdam Chamber of the company. They wrote to Stuyvesant 
to delay his departure from America. Political considerations soon 
afterward caused the revocation of the order, and Stuyvesant never left 
Manhattan until after the sceptre had departed from the Dutch. 


Another trouble vexed the soul of Peter Stuyvesant. A new element 
of social progress had begun to work vigorously in New Netherland, and 
in harmony with the free spirit of Dutch policy in social and political 
life. "Numbers, nay, whole towns," wrote De Laet, the historian,:}: 

* The sellout was a prosecuting attorney, a judge, and a sheriff ; a burgomaster was 
a governing magistrate and a scJiepen was an alderman. 

f This was a large stone building erected by Governor Kieft for the entertainment of 
strangers. He called it his liarberg, or house of entertainment. It was known as the 
City Tavern after Stuyvesant came, and until he appropriated it to the public use. 

X John de Laet was one of the most influential directors of the Dutch West India 
Company. In 1625 he published at Leyden, in a folio, black-letter volume, a History of 
the New World ; or Description of the W£»t Indies, which he dedicated to the States-Gen- 



" to escape from the persecutions of the Kew England Puritans, who 
made their narrow human creed the higher law," had come to New 
Netherland to enjoy the theoretic liberty of conscience in Church and 
State under Belgic rule. They had lands assigned them all around 
Manhattan. New Englanders intermarried with the Dutch. Being 
free to act as citizens, they exercised much influence in public affairs. 

More than ten years before New Amsterdam became a city an English 
secretary (George Baxter, already mentioned) had been employed by the 
director-general. The " strangers" readily adopted the republican ideas 
of the Dutch commonalty, and bore a conspicuous part in the democratic 
movements which gave Stuyvesant so much trouble during the latter 
years of his administration. The Dutch sighed for the freedom enjoyed 
in Fatherland, and the English settlers were determined to exercise the 
liberty w^hich British subjects then enjoyed under the rule of Cromwell. 
Stuyvesant saw the tidal wave of popular feeling rising, but, firm in his 

integrity and con- 
victions of the 
righteousness of his 
course, he main- 
tained his position 
until he was com- 
pelled to yield or 

like any other truth, 
has remarkable vi- 
tality. It is nourished by persecution. The more Stuyvesant attempted 
to stifle it, the more widely it spread and blossomed. The popular will, 
fully bent on reforms, became bold enough, in the autumn of 1653, to 
call a convention of nineteen delegates, who represented eight villages or 
communities, to assemble in the City Hall at New Amsterdam, ostensibly 
to take measures to secure themselves against the depredations of baiTbari- 
ans and pirates. They met on November 26th. Stuyvesant tried to con- 
trol their action, but they jDaid very little attention to his wishes and none 
to his commands ; yet they treated him with great courtesy. When they 
adjourned they gave a parting collation, to which the director-genernl 
was invited. Of course he would not sanction their proceedings by his 
presence. The delegates told him plainly that there would be another 

cral. He quoted largely from Hudson's private journal. In 1680 he became a share- 
holder in the estate of Rensselaerwyck, which the proprietor had divided into five shares. 
He also became interested in Swaixnendael, on the shore of Delaware Bay. 



conv^ention soon, and that lie might act as he pleased, and prevent it if 
he could. 

This revolutionary movement in his capital aroused the ire of tlie 
director-general. He stormed and threatened, but prudently yielded to 
the demands of the people that he should issue a call for another conven- 
tion, and so give legal sanction for the election of delegates thereto. 
They were chosen, and assembled at the City Hall on December 10th.* 
The object of the convention M^as to prepare and adopt a true statement 
of public affairs in New Netherland, and a remonstrance against the 
tyrannous rule of the director-general. 

This j^aper was drawn up by Baxter, Stuyvesant's former secretary, f 
and signed by every delegate. After expressions of loyalty to the States- 
General, it proceeded with a narrative, arranged under six heads, of the 
grievances which the colonists had endured. That narrative was a severe 
indictment of Stuyvesant for maladministration or mismanagement of 
public affairs. The paper was sent to the governor with a demand for a 
" categorical answer" to each of its heads. 

Stuyvesant met this document with his usual pluck. He denied the 
right of some of the delegates to seats in the convention. He denounced 
the whole thing as the wicked work of the English, and expressed a 
doubt whether " George Baxter, the author, knew what he "was about." 
He wanted to know if there was no one among the Dutch in New 
Netherland " sagacious and expert enough to draw up a remonstrance to 
the director and council ;" and he severely reprimanded the city govern- 
ment of New Amsterdam for " seizing this dangerous opportunity for 
conspiring with the English [with whom Holland was then at war], who 

* As this was the first real representative assembly in the great State of New York, 
I give here the names in full of the delegates and the districts which they represented. 
The metropolis (New Amsterdam) was represented by Arendt van Ilattem, Martin 
Kregier, and P. L.Van der Grist ; Breuckelen (Brooklyn), by Frederick Lubbertsen, Paul 
Van der Beech, and William Beeckeman ; Flushing, by John Hicks and Tobias Flake ; 
Newtown, bj^ Robert Coe and Thomas Hazard ; Heemstede (Hempstead), by William Wash- 
burn and John Somers ; Amersfoort (Flatlands), by P. Wolfertsen van Couwenhoven, 
Jan Strycker, and Thomas Swartwout ; Midwout (Flatbush), by Elbert Elbertsen and 
Thomas Spicer ; Gravesend, by George Baxter and J. Hubbard. 

f George Baxter was an exile from New England, and was appointed English secretary 
and interpreter by Kieft in 1642. Stuyvesant retained him as such, and he gave the 
director efficient service for several years. He became a leader in seditious proceedings 
at Gravesend, where he hoisted an English flag. He was arrested and imprisoned at 
New Amsterdam, but escaped, went to New England, and thence to London in 1663, 
where he stimulated the animosity of the English against the Dutch. With Saumel 
Maverick (who had lived in Massachusetts from his boyhood) and Scott he advised the 
Council of Foreign Plantations as to the best means for subduing New Netherland. 


were ever " hatcliing mischief, but never performing their promises, 
and who miglit to-morrow ally themselves with the North," meaning- 
Sweden and Denmark. 

This bluster did not turn the convention from its purpose. Beeckman, 
of Breuckelen, was sent to tell the governor that if he refused to consider 
the several points of the remonstrance they would appeal to the States- 
General. This threat enraged Stuyvesant, and seizing his heavy cane, 
he ordered Beeckman to leave his presence. The plucky ambassador of 
the convention folded his arms and silently defied the governor. When 
Stuyvesant's wrath had subsided he politely begged his visitor to excuse 
his sudden ebullition of passion, assuring him that he had great personal 
regard for him. But he was less courteous toward the convention as a 
body. lie ordered the members to disperse on pain of incurring his 
" high displeasure." " "We derive our authority," he said, " from God 
and the company, not from a few ignorant subjects ; and we alone can 
call the inhabitants together." The convention executed its threat, and 
appealed to the States-General. 

While thus perplexed by domestic annoyances, the tranquillity of the 
director-general's "foreign relations" was seriously disturbed. The 
pacific and " neighborly" Governor Printz had left New Sweden, and was 
succeeded in office by John Risingh, a more warlike magistrate, who 
came to the Delaware bringing with him some soldiers commanded by 
the bold Swen Shute. These speedily appeared before Fort Casimer, 
which Stuyvesant had built, on Trinity Sunday, 1654. " What can 1 
do ? I have no powder, ' ' said the commander of the little stronghold 
to the Dutch settlers who flocked to it for protection. lie could da 
nothing ; so he walked out of the fort, leaving the gate wide open, and 
shaking hands with Shute and his men, welcomed them as friends. The 
Swedes fired two shots over the fort in token of its capture, and then 
blotting out its Dutch garrison and its name, occupied it and called it 
Fort Trinity. 

When news of this event reached Stuyvesant he was made very angry 
and perplexed, for he was hourly expecting an attack from a British 
force, and he was at his wit's end. But the cloud soon passed. The 
English did not come, for the war was suddenly closed by treaty. Then 
Stuyvesant made a voyage to the West Indies for the purpose of estab- 
lishing a trade between New Netherland and those islands. Before be 
left he delivered to the authorities of the city of New Amsterdam the 
painted coat-of-arms of the municipality, the seal, and the silver signet 
which the College of Nineteen had just sent over. They soon afterward 
sent an order to the director-general to retake Fort Casimer and to wipe 




out the stain which the " infamous surrender" of that post had imparted 
~4o Belgic heroism. He was also ordered to annihilate Swedish dominion 
on both sides of the Delaware. 

This important task the director- general undertook in the summer of 
1655, and accomplished it speedily and 
without bloodshed. After a day of 
fasting and prayer (August 25t]i), and 
" after sermon" on Sunday, Septem- 
ber 5th, a squadron of seven vessels, 
bearing more than six hundred sol- 
diers (mostly A'-olunteers), sailed from 
Kew Amsterdam for the Delaware. 
The flag-ship was the Balance^ com- 
manded by the valiant Frederick de 
Konick. In her cabin might have 
been seen the director-general, Vice- 
director Nicasius de Sille, and Domi- 
nie Megopolensis. The squadron 

ascended the Delaware. The troops landed not far from Fort Christina, 
and an ensign and a drummer were sent to demand the surrender of 
Fort Casimer. This demand was speedily complied with. Then the 
commander drank the health of Stuyvesant in a glass of Rhenish 
wine ; and so ended the expedition, without firing a gun or shedding 
a drop of blood. So also ended Swedish dominion on the Delaware, 
and " !N"ew Sweden" perished in a day. Like Alfred of England, 
the director-general wisely made citizens of many of the conquered 
Swedes, who generally became the most loyal friends of the Dutch. 
They prospered exceedingly, and when, nearly thirty years afterward, 
they welcomed William Penn as their governor, they declared that it was 

the happiest day of their 

( ^k. /i\rr/^/ J/- /-// ^-/// /?/ Dm-ing; the absence of 

\J^C^U^S. Q^^im^;^ t,,e expedition Ne,v Am- 

^ _,.^— — ^ '/jjLm'^L sterdam was menaced with 

^-""^ - destruction. Van Dyck, 

siGXATUKE OF DE SILLE. ^ fomier clvll officcr, de- 

tected an Indian woman 
stealing peaches and slew her. The fury of her tribe was kindled. 
The long peace with the barbarians was suddenly broken. Before 
daybreak one morning almost two thousand River Indians in sixty 
canoes appeared before New Amsterdam. They landed, and with the pre- 


tencc of looking for hostile Indians tliey distributed themselves through 
the town and broke into several houses in search of the murderer. The 
alarmed citizens held a council at the fort and summoned the Indian 
leaders before them. The latter agreed to leave the city and pass over 
to Nutten (Governor's) Island before sunset. Tliey broke their promises, 
shot Van Dyck, menaced others, and filled the inhabitants with alarm. 
The citizens flew to arms and drove the Indians to their canoes, when 
they crossed over the Hudson River and ravaged a large region in New 
Jersey and on Staten Island. Within three days one hundred white 
people were slain, one hundred and fifty were made captive, and more 
than three hundred estates were utterly ruined. 

Stuyvesant returned from the Delaware when the excitement in New 
Amsterdam was at its height. He soon brought order out of confusion. 
Yet distant settlements were broken up, the inhabitants flying in fear to 
Manhattan for protection. To prevent a like calamity in the future, 
Stuyvesant issued a proclamation ordering all who lived in secluded 
places in the country to gather themselves into villages " after the 
fashion of our New England neighbors." The Dutcli liad very little 
trouble with the Indians afterward while the former remained masters of 
New Netherland. 

Excepting troubles occasioned by the arbitrary rule of the director- 
general, the religious intolerance practised and fostered by him, and 
occasional outside pressure from the Puritans and others. New Nether- 
land enjoyed peace and prosperity for almost ten years after the conquest 
of New Sweden and the suppression of Indian hostilities. 

There was some serious trouble at one time in 1G59 with the barbarians 
at Esopus, in (present) Ulster County, among whom the Dutch had made 
a settlement. The latter brought a dreadful calamity that befell them 
upon themselves. Some Indians, sleeping off the effects of a drunken 
carouse, were wantonly fired upon by the soldiers of a Dutch garrison on 
the site of Ilondout, and several were killed. The Indians flew to arms. 
Farms were desolated, buildings Avere burned, cattle and horses were 
killed, and many human beings perished. Stuyvesant, when he heard 
of the trouble, liastened to Esopus and soon quelled the great disturbance. 

The Dutch were also much disturbed in 1659 by claims made for the 
proprietor of Maryland to the whole region embraced in New Sweden. 
An embassy composed of two sturdy Inirghers — Heermans and 
Waldron — was sent to Maryland to confer with the authorities there. 
Dining with Secretary Calvert, they were surprised by his claiming that 
Maryland extended to the limits of New England. 

" Where, then, would remain New Netherland ?" asked the envoys. 



" 1 do not know," replied the secretary, with provoking calmness. 

The envoys were provoked. They utterly "denied, disowned, and 
re]4cted " the claim for Lord Baltimore, and with great spirit maintained 
that of the Dutch. The con- 

ference was ended without 
any immediate results, and 
the envoys returned to 


The New Englanders were 
again pressing territorial 
claims, and within and with- 
out New Xetlierland the 
Anglo-Saxon jDrogressive ele- 
ment was menacing the integ- 
rity of the Dutch realm in 
America. New Amsterdam 
increased in wealth and popu- 
lation. A wooden palisade 
or "wall," extending from 
river to river along the line of 
(present) "Wall Street, from 
which it derives its name, was 

constructed. A village was founded on a fertile plain in the upper part 
of Manhattan Island, and it was called "Harlem." It was planted 
there " for the promotion of agricultural gardening — and the amuse- 



raent for the people of New Amsterdam." They erected a wind-mill 
there like those in Holland. Between the city and the village might 
frequently be seen farm wagons on the only road, laden with garden 


products, and occasionally a Dutch pleasure wa^n so familiar to travel- 
lers in Holland, at that time, conveying a ])art of the family to a 
social gathering. The little city contained many happy homes, where 
people of cheerful but often uncultivated minds and affectionate hearts 
domiciled, and life was enjoyed in a dreamy, quiet bhssfulness which is 
quite unknown in these days of bustle and noise. Yery little attention 
was given to political matters by the commonalty or the mass of the 
people, but there were many thoughtful men and women who were 
restive under the rule of the director-general. Some of them declared 
they would be 'willing to endure English rule for the sake of Jlnglish 
liberty. They were soon given an opportunity to try the experiment. 



A CRISIS in the affairs of New Netherland now approached. Mon- 
archy was restored in England in 1660, and a son of the decapitated 
Charles I. was set npon the throne of his father as Charles II. This had 
not been done by the voice of even a majority of the people, and the 
new monarch, wishing to conciliate all parties, proclaimed " liberty to 
tender consciences" in all his dominions. But this was only a State 
trick, as the sad experience of the Dissenters soon taught them. 

The Dutch West India Company determined to follow the example of 
King Charles by expressing " tenderness" for consciences, for their own 
benefit. They clainied the domains of New Jersey as a part of the realm 
of New Netherland. It was almost wholly unoccupied by settlers. De- 
siring to allure the disappointed and persecuted Dissenters in England 
to their domain, they prepared a charter, which was approved by the 
States-General, to meet the aspirations of tender consciences. The 
States-General passed an act in February, 1661, granting to " all Chris- 
tian people of tender consciences, in England or elsewhere oppressed, 
full liberty to erect a colony in the West Indies, between New England 
and Virginia, in America, now within the jurisdiction of Peter Stuyve- 
sant, the States-General's governor for the Dutch West India Company." 
All concerned were forbidden to hinder Dutch colonists, and were 
enjoined to afford them " all favorable help and assistance where it shall 
be needful." 

This widening of the tents of toleration and the freedom of the citizens 
again troubled the soul of the aristocratic Stuyvesant, who was bigotedly 
loyal to the doctrines and discipline of the Dutch Reformed Church, 
and he now began those petty persecutions already alluded to which 
made the Manhattan people more than ever displeased with his adminis- 
tration. He seemed to have a special dislike of the Quakers, and dis- 
ciplined them with imprisonments and banishments. To a fiery temper 
like that of Stuyvesant their imperturbability was an offence and annoy- 
ance. Their serenity of deportment made him angry. But his persecu- 
tions had very little effect in suppressing the aspirations of the people. 

Emigrants from Old and New England settled here and there between 
the Hudson and Delaware rivers, and in 1662 a colony of Mennonites from 
Holland — followers of Simon Menno, who were Anabaptists — settled on 


the Hore Kill, in the region of ruined Swaanendael (see p. ), and 

there formed an association and adopted seventeen articles of agreement 
for their government. The Association was composed of married men, 
at least twenty-four years of age, and out of debt. No clergyman was 
admitted to the Association. Their religious rites were few and simple. 
Desirous of maintaining harmony, they excluded " all intractable people 
— such as those in communion with the Roman See ; usurious Jews ; 
English stiff-necked Quakers ; Puritans ; foolhardy believers in the 
Millennium, and obstinate modern pretenders to revelation." With 
Peter Plockhoy as their leader, they flourished until the colony was 
plundered and ruined by the English, in 1664, " not sparing even a 
raile, " 

Another Dutch colony was founded on the Delaware in 1656 by the 
city of Amsterdam and named New Amstel. The land was bought by 
the city from the Dutch West India Company. It suffered many mis- 
fortunes, and finally perished with New Netherland. This colony was 


planted under Stuyvesant's jurisdiction, who, in order to have more 
direct and sure control of its affairs, appointed William Beeckman Vice- 
Director and Commissary of New Amstel.* 

In tlie summer of 1663 the peace which had reigned at Esopus for 
three years was suddenly broken. A new village called Wiltwyck (now 
Kingston) had been built up, and- in comfortable log cottages the inhab- 
itants had been living in fancied security for some time. The village 

* William Beeckman was born in Overyssel in 1623, and came to New Netherland in the 
same ship with Stuyvesant. His wife was Catharine de Bergh, by whom he had six 
children, one of whom married a son of the governor, Nicholas William Stuyvesant. 
Beeckman was a schepen or alderman of New Amsterdam, .secretary and vice-director of 
New Amstel, where he managed judiciously in diplomacy with the English representatives 
of Maryland. He was at one time commi.s.sary at Esopus. He was alderman in 1679 under 
English rule, liaving been Ijurgomjuster when the Dutch bust pos.scs.sed the city. He re- 
tired from pubHc life in 1696, and died in 1707, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. 
" William" and " Beekman" streets, in New York, derived their names from him. and 
still retain them. 


was palisaded, and at the mouth of Rondont Creek the Dutch built a 
rmiduit — a redoubt — which made the Indians suspicious of their inten- 
tions. One day in early June, while the men were working in the fields 
and the village gates were wide open, bands of barbarians entered, and 
with friendly pretence offered beans and corn for sale at the doors of the 
cottages: Suddenly they began to plunder, burn, and murder. As the 
men rushed from the fields toward their blazing dwellings they were shot 
down. The living men were finally rallied by the schout, Swartwout, 
and drove the Indians away. Twenty-one lives had been sacrificed, 
nine persons were wounded, and forty-five, mostly women and children, 
were carried away captives. 

Great alarm was spread throughout the province, and expeditions were 
sent against the Esopus Indians from Fort Amsterdam and Fort Orange. 
These chased the offenders far into the wilderness. Thirty miles from 
Wiltwyck they destroyed an Indian fort and rescued many of the 

The power of the barbarians was now broken, and it was soon crushed. 
Meanwhile the hostilities of the Indians among themselves on the borders 
of the white settlements made the Europeans constantly fearful and 
vigilant. At the same time the Connecticut people were continually 
encroaching. There \vas a revolt on Long Island, and the very existence 
of New Netherland Avas threatened. There were ever premonitions of 
such an event, which actually occurred the next year. 

Informed late in 16G3 that King Charles had granted to his brother 
James, Duke of York, the whole of Long Island, several of the principal 
English settlements combined in forming a sort of provisional govern- 
ment in that region. There was then among them Captain John Scott, 
who had been a disturber of the peace for several years. He had lately 
come back from England with pretended powers. lie had claimed that 
the Indians had sold to him a large portion of Long Island, and he issued 
fraudulent deeds. This man the combined English settlements made 
their provisional president until " Plis Majesty's mind should be known." 
With an armed party he sought to force Dutch settlements to join the 
league, but failed. At the beginning of lOO-t Scott departed for Eng- 
land after a conference at Hempstead with representatives of Stuyvesant, 
when he informed them that the Duke of York was resolved to possess 
himself not only of Long Island, but of the whole of New Netherland. 
Stuyvesant was startled and perplexed by this announcement of the 
" usurper," as he called Scott, and he asked the advice of his Council 
and the municipal authorities of New Amsterdam. They recommended 
the complete fortifying of the city. The director-general then ordered 



an election of delegates for a General Provincial Assembly, to meet in 
New Amsterdam in April. Tliej assembled in the City Hall. There 
were delegates from Fort Orange, Ilensselaerwyck, Esopus, and all the 

Dutch settlements ; but they were 
powerless to avert the impending 
blow, wliieh was to annihilate Dutch 
dominion in North America.* 

Tlie profligate British monarch 
resolved to rob the Dutch of all New 
Netherland. With no more riffht 
to the domain than had the arch- 
tempter to " all the kingdoms of the 
earth," but governed by the ethics 
of the mailed. hand — " might makes 
right" — and that cannons are the 
" last arguments of kings," he gave 
to his royal brother, the Duke of 
York, a patent for the Dutch terri- 
tory — " all the lands and rivers from 
the west side of Connecticut River 
to the east side of Delaware Bay." The patent included Long Island, 
Staten Island, and all the adjacent islands. 

As Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy, tlie duke at once detached 
four ships-of-war for service 
in asserting his claim by 
force of arms, if necessary. 
The king provided four hun- 
dred and fifty regular soldiers 
for the same purpose, and 

intrusted the connnand of the expedition to Colonel Richard Nicolls, a 
stanch Royalist and court favorite, who had served under the great 



* This General Provisional Assembly was presided over by Jeremias van Rensselaer, 
the second patroon and director of Rensselaer wyck. New Amsterdam was represented 
by Cornells Steenwyck, burgomaster, and Jacob Bachker ; Rensselaerwyck, by Jeremias 
van Rensselaer and Dirck van Schelluyne, its secretary ; Fort Orange (Albany), by Jan 
Verbeck and Gerritt van Slechteuhorst ; Breuckelen, by William Brcdenbent and Albert 
Cornelis Wuiitcnaar ; Midwout, by Jan Strycker and William Guillians ; Amersfoort, bj' 
Elbert Elbertsen and Coert Stevensen ; New Utreclit, by David Jochemsen and Cornelis 
Beeckman ; Boswyck (Bushwick), by Jan van Cleef and Gyshert Tcunisson ; Wiltwyck, 
by Tliomas Chambers and Gyshert van Imbroeck ; Bergen, by EngelluTt Steenhuysen 
and Hermann Smeeman ; and Staten Island, by David de Marest and Pierre Billou. This 
was the third and last iwpular assembly convened at New Amsterdam. 


Marshal Turenne, and bore the commission of governor of the province 
aftdr it should be secured to the duke. Associated with Nicolls were 
Sir Robert Carr, Colonel George Cartwright, and Samuel Maverick, as 
royal commissioners, instructed 
to visit the several colonies 
in New England and demand 
their assistance in reducing the 
Dutch to submission. 

Stuy vesant had been assured 
by the misled Amsterdam ly\ n .r^^n W / ^ .sL \^*^/- 
Chamber tl>at no danger need ^ tCH ^ ( a.ifK)X>t^ 

"VSdirt (M?r: 


be apprehended from the Brit- 
ish expedition, for it liad been 
sent out to visit the English- 
American colonies to settle affairs among them and to introduce episco- 
pacy. Soothed by this assurance, the work of fortifying New Amster- 
dam was suspended, vigilance was relaxed, and the director-general went 
up to Fort Orange at near the close of July to look after affairs there. 

This dreamed-of security was suddenly dispelled. Early in August 
intelligence came from Boston that the expedition was actually on the 
New England coast on its w'ay to New Amsterdam. Stuyvesant, 
apprised of the fact, hastened back to his capital, and the municipal 
authorities ordered one third of the inhabitants, without exceptions, to 
labor every third day in fortifying the city. A permanent guard was 
organized, and a call was made on the provincial government for artillery 
and ammunition. Twenty great guns and a thousand j^ounds of powder 
were immediately furnished. But the inhabitants did not work with 
much enthusiasm in preparations for defence, for English influence and 
the director-general's temper and deportment had alienated the people, 
and they w-ere indifferent. Some of them regarded the expected 
invaders as welcome friends. Stuyvesant had shorn himself of strength, 
and when now, in his extremity, he began to make concessions to the 
people, it was too late. The sceptre had departed from him. Loyal to 
his masters in Holland, he resolved to defend the city until the last, and 
entreated the jjeople to sustain him. 

At the close of August the British armament anchored outside the 
Narrows — the entrance to the harbor of New Amsterdam — and on Satur- 
day, the 30th, Nicolls sent to Stuyvesant a summons to surrender the 
fort and city. He also sent a proclamation to the inhabitants promising 
perfect security of person and property to all who should submit to 
" His Majesty's Government." Stuyvesant immediately called his 


coTTTicil and tlie burgomasters to a conference at the fort. He would not 
allow the terms offered by Nicolls to the people to be communicated to 
tliem. " It would not be approved in Fatherland," he said, for he 
l»elieved " calamitous consequences" would follow by making them insist 
upon capitulating. There was also a meeting of other city otKcers and 
the burghers, at the City Hall, who determined to prevent the enemy 
from surprising the town, if possible, and yet they leaned toward 
submission, seeing resistance would be in vain. 

The Sabbath passed by and no answer was returned to the summons 
of Nicolls. The people, uncertain as to what was going on, became 
much excited. On Monday the citizens assembled, when the burgo- 
masters explained to them the terms offered by Nicolls. This was not 
sufficient. They demanded a sight of the proclamation, Stuyvesant 
went in person to the meeting, and told the people that such a course 
would "be disapproved in Fatherland." They were not satisfied, and 
clamored for a sight of the proclamation. 

Meanwhile, Governor Winthrop, of Connecticut, who was on friendly 
terms with Stuyvesant and had jcrined the squadron, received from 
Nicolls a letter repeating his terms offered in the proclamation, and 
authorizing Winthrop to assure the Dutch governor that Hollanders, 
citizens or merchants, should have equal privileges with the English if 
he would quietly surrender. 

"Winthrop, under a flag of truce, delivered this letter to Stuyvesant out- 
side the fort and urged him to surrender. The proud director-general 
promptly refused, and withdrawing to the Council-room within he 
oi)ened and read the letter before the assembled Council and burgo- 
masters. They urged him to communicate the letter to the people, as 
" all which regarded the public welfare ought to be made public." 

The governor stoutly refused to yield. The Council and burgomasters 
as stoutly insisted upon tlie just measure, when the director-general, 
who had fairly earned the title of " Peter the Headstrong," unable to 
control his passions, tore the letter in pieces and threw it upon the floor. 
AVhen the people who were at work on the palisades heard of this scene 
they dropped their implements and hastened to the City Hall. Thence 
they sent a deputation to Stuyvesant to demand the letter. In vain he 
attempted, in person, to satisfy the burghers and urge them to go on 
with the fortification. They would not listen to him, but uttered curses 
against his administration. 

" The letter ! the letter !" they shouted. 

The governor stormed. The people shouted more vociferously : 

"The letter! the letter !" 


The burghers were on tlie verge of open insurrection. To avert such 
a calamity, the sturdy old governor yielded. He allowed the fragments 
of the torn letter to be picked up from the floor of the Council chamber 
and a fair copy to be made and given to the people ; and he sent off in 
silence that night, through the dangerous strait of Ilell Gate, in a small 
Dutch vessel, a despatch to the Amsterdam Chamber, saying : " Long 
Island is gone and lost; the capital cannot hold out long." This was 
Stuyvesant's last official despatch as Governor of New Netherland. 

Tleceiving no reply from Stuyvesant, ]S"icolls landed some troops and 
anchored two ships-of-war in the channel between Fort Amsterdam and 
the Governor's Island. Stuyvesant saw all this from the ramparts of his 
fort, but would not yield. He knew the extreme weakness of the fort 
and city, yet his proud will would not readily bend. Yielding at length 
to the persuasions of Dominie Megopolensis * (who had led him from the 
ramparts), he sent a deputation to Xicolls with a letter, in which he said 
that, though he felt bound to " stand the storm," he desired, if possible, 
to arrange an accommodation. Nicolls curtly replied : 

" To-morrow I will speak 
with you at Manhattan." y .^w> /:> /? •■ 

Stuyvesant as curtly replied : ^4^ ^i»7'*'7i^ W'^^-^^^^^^J;p^ 

" Friends will be welcome ^ U ^ 

if they come in a friendly signature of john megopolensis. 


" I shall come with ships and soldiers," answered Nicolls. " Raise 
the white flag of peace at the fort, and then something may be con- 
sidered. " 

AVhen this imperious message became known men, women, and chil- 
dren flocked to the director-general beseeching him to submit. The 
brave old soldier said : " I would much rather be carried out dead ;" 

• * Dr. John Megopolensis, a learned clergyman, was brought to Rensselaerwyck with 
his family from Holland at the expense of the patroon, and employed there as a clergy- 
man for six years, when he went home. He soon came back, became a patentee of Flat- 
bush, on Long Island, and organized a church there. His jealousy of and intolerant con- 
duct toward the Lutherans called an admonition from Holland. He was a man greatly 
beloved by Stuyvesant, and became the governor's most trusted adviser in public affairs. 
He accompanied Stuyvesant on his expedition against the Swedes in 1655. His earnest 
missionary spirit caused him to form a warm friendship for Father Le Moyne, the French 
Roman Catholic missionary among the Indians. He bore communications to Nicolls 
from Stuyvesant, and atlvised the surrender of the province to the English. After the 
surrender he and the English chaplain preached alternately in the church at the fort. He 
preached on Long Island also. Dominie Megopolensis died in New York, when his 
widow returned to Holland. 



but when the city authorities, the clergy, and the principal inhabitants 
of the city, and even his own son, Balthazar, urged him to yield, " Peter 
the Headstrong," who liad a heart " as big as an ox and a head that 
would have set adamant to scorn," consented to capitulate. 

On the morning of September 8th, 1664, the last of the Dutch gov- 
ernors of New York led his soldiers from the fort down Beaver Lane to 
the place of embarkation for Holland. An hour later an English cor- 
poral's guard took possession of the fort and raised over it the red cross 
of St. George, when its name was changed to Fort James, in honor of 
the duke. Nicolls and Carr, with nearly two hundred soldiers, then 
entered the city, when the burgomasters duly proclaimed the former the 
deputy-governor of the province, which, with the city of ^N^ew Amster- 
dam, he named " New York" in honor of the duke's first or English 





title. The surrender of the garrison at Fort Orange soon followed, and 
the name of that post was changed to " Albany" in honor of the duke's 
second or Scotch title. Long Island was named " Yorkshire," and the 
region now known as New Jersey was named "Albania." Very soon 

* Cornelis van Rviyven was appointed provincial secretary in 1653, and performed 
excellent service for Governor Stuyvesant for about eleven years. He wjis employed in 
diplomacy at various points in the province, on the South Kiver and at Hartford. He 
was one of a committee who carried the letter from Governor Stuyvesjuit to Colonel 
NicoUs consenting to a surrender of the province to the English. Above is the signature 
of Van Ruyven signed officially below that of Stuyvesant to a Dutch document in my 
possession, dated May, 1664. The document bears the seal of New Netherland, seen on 
page 27 of this volume. Stuyvesant also had an English secretary — George Baxter — for 
a few years. 


every part of New Netherland quietly submitted to the English, and so 
passed away forever Dutch dominion in North x\merica. 

The government of New Netherland under Dutch rule was little better 
than a caricature of the political system under which the Dutch colonists 
had lived happily in their native land. The province during its whole 
career of forty years had been controlled by a close commercial corpora- 
tion, whose chief aim was the selfish one of pecuniary profit. The 
magistrates sent to preside over its public affairs were selected as sup- 
posed fit representatives of the great monopoly's aims and interests, and 
are not to be judged by the standard of those in power, whose chief aim 
is the happiness of the people and the building up of a State on the per- 
manent foundations of wisdom and justice. The Dutch then (as now) were 
distinguished for their honesty, integrity, industry, thrift, and frugality. 

:irifi»ww; »r .— ^ * "''*''':~~Ti--Lji:; ^ u ill!!!ij i iSy i!^^^ i"l- ■ ' ■' 

The purity of their morals and the decorousness of their manners were 
always conspicuous. This may, perhaps, be justly ascribed to the influ- 
ence of their women, who were devoted wives and mothers and modest 
maidens. The women were remarkable for their executive ability in 
managing affairs, and their housekeeping was perfect in cleanliness and 

As population and wealth increased at New Amsterdam much taste 
was frequently displayed in their dwellings. At the time of the sur- 
render the city, within the palisades, or below AYall Street, contained 
about three hundred houses and fully fifteen hundred inhabitants. 

Colonel Nicolls described it as "the best of His Majesty's towns in 
America." At first the houses were built of logs ; the roofs were 
thatched with reeds and straw ; the chimneys were made of wood, and 
the light of their windows entered through oiled paper. Finally the 
thatched roofs and wooden chinmeys gave place to tiles and shingles and 



brick. The better lionses were built of brick imported from Holland, 
until some enterprising citizens established a brickyard on the island 
during the administration of Stuy vesant. 

■'■r'^^ -- ^ — 


Every house was surrounded by a garden, in which the chief vegetable 
cultivated was cabbage, and the principal flowers were tulips. The 
houses were plainly but sometimes richly furnished. It is said that the 
first carpet — a Turkey rug — seen in the city belonged to Sarah Oort, 
wife of the famous Captain Kidd. The clean floors were strewn daily 
with white beach sand wrought into artistic forms by the skilful use of 
the broom. Huge oaken chests filled with household linen of domestic 
manufacture were seen in a corner in every room, and in another corner 
a triangular cupboard with a glass door, sometimes, in which were 
displayed shining pewter and other plates. The wealthier citizens 
sometimes had china tea-sets and solid silver tankards, launch bowls, 
porringers, ladles, and spoons. Tea had only lately found its way to New 
York. Good horses were rare until they began to import them from 
New England, but their swine and cows were generally of excellent 
quality. There were no carriages until after the revolution of 16SS. 
The first hackney coach seen in the city of New York was imported in 

Clocks and watches were almost unknown. Time was measured by 
sun-dials and hour-glasses. The habits of the people were so regular 
that they did not need clocks and watches. They arose at cock-crowing, 
breakfasted at sunrise, and dined at eleven o'clock. At nine o'clock in 



the evening thej all said their prayers and went to bed. Dinner-parties 
were unknown, but tea-parties were frequent. These parties began at 
tliree o'clock in the afternoon in winter, and ended at six o'clock, when 
the participants went home in time to attend to the milking of the cows. 

In every house were spinning-wheels, large and small^ for making 
threads of wool and flax ; and it was the pride of every family to have 
an ample supply of home-made linen and woollen cloth. The women 
knit, spun, and wove, and were steadily employed. Nobody was idle. 
Nobody was anxious to gain wealtli. A man worth $1000 was regarded 
as rich. All practised thrift and frugality. Books were rare luxuries, 
and in most houses the Bible and prayer-book constituted the stock of 
literature. The weekly discourses of the clergymen eatisfled their intel- 
lectual wants, while their own hands, industriously employed, satisfied 
all their physical necessities. Utility was as plainly stamped upon all 
their labors as is the maker's name upon silver spoons. Yet they were 
a cheerful people, and enjoyed rollicking fun during hours of leisure and 
social intercourse. These were the " good 
old days" in the city of New York — 
days of simplicity, comparative inno- 
cence and positive ignorance, when the 
commonalty no more suspected the earth 
of the caper of turning over like a ball 
of yarn every day than Stuyvesant did 
the Puritans of candor and honesty. 

'*' The pioneers of New York," says 
Brodhead, "left their impress deeply 
upon the State. Far-reaching com- 
merce, which had made old Amsterdam 
the Tyre of the seventeenth century, 

early provoked the envy of the colonial neighbors of New Amsterdam, 
and in the end made her the emporium of the Western world. . . . 
Cherished birthdays yet recall the memories of the genial anniversaries 
of the Fatherland ; and year by year the people are invited to render 
thanks to their God, as their fathers were invited, long before Man- 
hattan was known, and while New England was yet a desert. These 
forefathers humbly worshipped the King of kings, while they fearlessly 
rejected the kings of men. 

" The emigrants who first explored the coasts and reclaimed the soil 
of New Netherland, and bore the flag of Holland to the wigwam of the 
Iroquois, were generally bluff, plain-spoken, earnest, yet unpresumptuous 
men, who spontaneously left their native land to better their condition 



and bind another province to tlie United Netherlands. Thej brought 
over with them the hberal ideas and honest maxims and homelj virtues 
of their country. Tliey introduced their church and their schools, their 
dominies and their scliool-masters. They carried along with them their 
huge clasped Bibles, and left them heirlooms in their families. . . . 
The Dutch province always had both popular freedom and public spirit 
enough to attract Avithin its borders voluntary immigrants from the 
neighboring British colonies. If the Fatherland gave an asylum to self- 
exiled Puritans of England, New Netherland as liberally sheltered 
refugees from the intolerant governments on her eastern frontier. . . . 
Without underrating others, it may confidently be claimed that to no 
nation in the world is the Republic of the West more indebted than to 
the United Provinces for the idea of a confederation of States ; for noble 
principles of constitutional freedom ; for magnanimous sentiments of 
religious toleration ; for characteristic sympathy "with the subjects of 
oppression ; for liberal doctrines in trade and commerce ; for illustrioua 
patterns of private integrity and public virtue, and for generous and 
timely aid in the establishment of independence. Nowhere among the 
people of the United States can any be found excelling in honesty, 
industry, courtesy, or accomplishments the posterity of the early Dutch 
settlers in New Netherland." * 

Upon such a foundation — a people who made the hearth-stone the test 
of citizenship, and demanded residence and loyalty as the only guarantee 
of faithfulness as citizens — and a happy mixture, in time, of various 
nationalities and theological ideas, has been reared the grand superstruc- 
ture of the Empire State of New York. 

The Dutch West India Company tried to shift the responsibility of 
the loss of New Netherland from their own shoulders to those of Stuy- 
vesant. They declared that he had not done his duty well, and asked 
the States- General to disapprove the " scandalous surrender" of New 
Amsterdam. The sturdy old Frieslander made serious counter-charges 
of remissness in duty against the company, and sustained them by sworn 
testimony taken at New York. He went to Holland in 1665 and urged 
the States- General to make a speedy decision of his case. There was 
delay. The dispute was finally ended in 1667 by the peace between 
Holland and England, concluded at Breda. Then Stuyvesant returned 
to America, where he was cordially welcomed by his old friends, and 
kindly received by his political enemies, who had already learned from 
experience that he was not a worse governor than th6 duke had sent 

* Brodhead's Zri«to;*y of tli^ State of New York, i. 747. 


them. He retired to his houwerie or farm on the East River, where he 
enjoyed the respect of his fellow-citizens. There he died in 1682, at the 
age of eighty years. Under the venerable church of St. Mark his mortal 
remains repose. In the northern wall of that venerable fane may be 
seen a free-stone slab on which is engraved a memorial inscription. 

With all his faults, Peter Stayvesant was a grand man of the time in 
which he lived. Obedient to every behest of duty and conscience ; 
zealous in his patriotic devotion to the interests of his people and 
country ; lion-hearted in the maintenance of what he deemed to be right 
and just ; with unswerving loyalty to religions and political creeds, in 
his day, and viewing with supreme contempt the treachery of one of the 
most despicable of the British monarchs toward his unsuspecting ally, 
he felt it to be a degradation to yield an iota to the demands of the 
royal robber, who was incapable of exercising any truly noble aspiration 
or truly generous impulse. 




The surrender of New Netherland to the English being accomplislied, 
a new provincial government for New York was organized under Colonel 
Nicolls as chief magistrate. Matthias Nicolls was made secretary of 
the province. The governor chose for his Council, Robert Needham, 
Thomas Delavall, Secretary Nicolls, Thomas Topping, and William 
Wells. Mr. Delavall was made collector and receiver-general of New 
York. The Dutch municipal officers of New Amsterdam were retained. 
A few days after the surrender the burgomasters wrote to the Dutch 

West India Company giving an account of 
the event, and adding : " Since we are no 
longer to depend upon your honors' prom- 
ises or protection, we, with all the poor, sor- 
rowing, and abandoned commonalty, must 
fly for refuge to the Almighty God, not 
doubting but lie will stand by lis in this 
sorely afflicting conjunction." 

A harmonious arrangement was made for 
divine worship in New York. The Dutch 
church in the fort was the only fane in the 
city dedicated to Jehovah, and it was cor- 
dially agreed that after the Dutch morning 
service on the Sabbath the English chaplain 
should read the English Episcopal service 
to the governor and the garrison. Upon 
this footing the Englisli Episcopal Church 
and the Dutch Church in New York 
i-einained for more than thirty years. 
The dreams of freedom under British rule in New York were never 
realized by the Dutch. They soon found that a change of masters did 
not increase their prosperity or happiness. " Fresh names and laws did 


♦ Burke says the Duke of York was directed, by a royal warrant issued in 1652, to use a 
seal, delineated above, which bore the royal arms of the Stuarts quartered with those of 
France and England. It was used as the first seal of tlie i>rovince of New York imder 
the English. It was both pendant and incumbent. The engraving represents a pendant 
seal attached to the first charter of the city of Albany, 1686. 


not secure fresli liberties. Amsterdam was changed to York, and 
Orange to Albany ; but these changes only commemorated the titles of 
a conqueror. It was nearly twenty years before that conqueror allowed 
for a brief period to the people of New York even that faint degree of 
representative government which they had enjoyed when the tri-colored 
ensign of Holland was hauled down from the flag-staif of Fort Amster- 
dam, New Netherland exchanged Stuyvesant and the Dutch West India 
Company and a republican sovereignty for Nicolls and a royal proprietor 
and a hereditary king. The province was not represented in Parliament ; 
nor could the voice of the people reach the chapel of St. Stephen at 
Westminster as readily as it had reached the chambers of the Binnenhof 
at the Hague." * 

Governor Nicolls required the Dutch inhabitants, who numbered about 
two thirds of the population of New Netherland, to take an oath of 
allegiance to the British monarch. The king having authorized the 
duke to make laws for the colony, the latter empowered Governor 
Nicolls and his Council to do so without the concurrence of representa- 
tives of the people. The code so prepared, and known as " The Duke's 
Laws," was pronmlgated in the spring of 1665.f 

In order to gain the good-will of the Dutch, Nicolls allowed the munic- 
ipal government of the city to continue in the form in which he found 
it. When, in February, 1G65, the terms of the municipal officers 
expired, they were allowed, as usual, to nominate their successors. They 
chose Oloff Stevens van Cortlandt, burgomaster ; Timothy Gabry, 
Johannes van Brugh, Johannes de Peyster,:]; Jacob Kip, and Jacques 
Coosseau, aldermen ; and Allard Anthony, sheriff. 

A little later the government of the city of New York was changed so 
as to make it more " conformable to the English." The governor 
selected Thomas Willett, Stuyvesant's wise counsellor in diplomacy, and 
then a resident of New Plymouth, to be the first Mayor of New York. 

* Brodhead's History of the State of JVew York, ii. 44. 

t There was only a pretence of consultation with representatives of the people in the 
construction of these laws. A meeting of thirty-four delegates was held at" Hempstead, 
on the call of Governor Nicolls, who laid before them the laws he had caused to be com- 
piled from those of New England ; but when the delegates proposed any amendments 
they found that they had been assembled merely to accept laws which had been prepared 
for them. They had merely exchanged the despotism of Stuyvesant for English des- 

I Johannes de Peyster was the first of his name who came to New Netherland. He 
was a man of wealth, and became active in public affairs. He was chosen burgomaster 
in 1673, while the Dutch had temporary possession of the province, and.afterward suffered 
much from the petty tyranny of Governor Andros. He was the ancestor of the De Peyster 
family in America, some of whom have been distinguished in the history of our country. 



One hundred and forty-two years afterward (1807) Marinus Willett, his 
great-great-grandson, was mayor of that city, then freed from British 
rule. It was in May, 1665, that the first Mayor and Board of Aldermen 

^^S^]t^^ ^^ /^^ij^^c 


for the city of New York were appointed. Three of them were English- 
men — Willett, Delavall, and Lawrence — and four of them were Hol- 
landers — Van Cortlandt, Van Brugli, Van Ruyven (former secretary of 
Stuyvesant), and Anthony. 

"War between Holland and Great Britain broke out again early in 
1665. The Dutch had resolved no longer to submit to the domination 
of the English. The States-General authorized the Dutcli West India 
Company to " attack, conquer, and ruin the English, both in and out of 
Europe, on land and water." The conflict raged chiefly on the ocean, 
and was terminated by a treaty at Breda at the close of June, 1667, 

when New Netherland was formally given up 
to Great Britain. 

Meanwhile two royalist favorites — Lord 
Berkeley and Sir George Carteret — had per- 
suaded the duke to convey to them a part of 
the magnificent domain in America, which 
was not yet in his possession, for the expedi- 
tion sent to seize it was still (June, 166-1) 
out upon the ocean. These favorites had been 
prompted to ask this grant by the " usurper" 
Scott — "born to work mischief" — for the 
purpose of injuring the duke, who had re- 
fused to let him have Long Island. The duke 
conveyed the whole of the beautiful territory 
between the Hudson River and the Delaware to Berkeley and Carteret, 
and in memory of the gallant defence of the island of Jersey by the lat- 
ter, he named the domain in the charter Nova Caesarea, or New Jersey. 



Richard Nicolls * governed New York judiciously and wisely for 
about four years, when he resigned the government into the hands of 
his appointed successor, Francis Lovelace. The latter had visited Long 
Island in 1652 under a pass from Cromwell's Council of State, and 
passed thence into Yirginia. 
He was a phlegmatic, indolent, 
and good-natured man, and of 
a mild and generous disposition, 
his weakness causing him oc- 
casionally to exercise petty 
tyranny. He was unfitted to 
encounter great storms, yet he 
showed considerable energy in 
dealing with the French and 
Indians on the northern frontier 
of New York during his ad- 

One of Lovelace's wisest 
counsellors and the most influ- 
ential man in the province at 
that time was Cornells Steen- 
wyck,f a wealthy citizen, and 
who held the oflice of mayor 
for three years during the ad- 
ministration of Lovelace. It was at his large storehouse that the corpo- 
ration gave a banquet to Governor Nicolls on his retirement from oflice. 


* Nicolls was born in Bedfordshire in 1624, the son of a London barrister. He was a 
descendant of the Earl of Elgin. At the breaking out of the civil war he joined the royal 
forces, leaving college for the purpose, and soon obtained command of a troop of horse. 
As an nttacM of the Duke of York, after the death of Charles, he served in France, first 
under Marslial Turenne, and then under the Prince of Conde. After the Restoration he 
returned to England, found employment at court, became a favorite, and was made the 
duke's deputy governor of New York. He returned to England in 1668. 

f Cornells Steenwyck emigrated to New Netherland from Haarlem, Holland. He was 
a merchant, who arrived at New Amsterdam about 1652, and engaged in trade, principally 
in tobacco for the European market. He was rated among the most wealthy citizens in 
1655. In 1658 he married Margaretta de Riemer, daughter of a widow who conducted a 
small mercantile establishment in New Amsterdam. The widow was married the next 
year to Dominie Drissius, the Dutch clergyman of New Amsterdam. Steenwyck had a 
fine residence on the south-west corner of (present) Whitehall and Bridge streets. He 
was a very active man in public affairs as burgomaster, delegate to the General Assembly, 
and colleague of De Ruyven in carrying Stuyvesant's letters to Nicolls, and in the busi- 
ness of surrender. 



Lovelace held friendly intercourse with the peojjle of New England, 
and when, in 1073, there was war again between Holland and Great 
Britain, and a Dutch squadron appeared before his capital in August, he 
was on a friendly visit to Governor Winthrop, of Connecticut. With 
disaffection to his government he was always impatient ; and when the 
inhabitants in the territory of " New Sweden," on the Delaware, and 
also on Long Island, showed a rebellious spirit, he, at the suggestion of a 
Swede, levied heavy taxes upon them, and told them that they should have 
no liberty for any other thought than how they should j^ay their assessments. 
At the close of July, 1073, a Dutch squadron, commanded by 
Admirals Evertsen and Binckes, twenty-three vessels in all, including 
numerous prizes, and bearing six hundred land troops, arrived off Sandy 
Hook, and soon anchored above the Narrows in sight of New York. 
The admirals sent a summons to the commander of the fort there to sur- 
render. The English were taken by surprise. Captain John Manning, 
M^ho was in command of the fort, sent a messenger to Governor Lovelace 
in Connecticut, ordered the drums to beat for volunteers, and sent to the 
nearest towns on Long Island for re-enforcements. None came. The 

Dutch in the city showed signs of 
serious disaffection. The call for 
volunteers was little heeded. Few 
appeared, and those who did re- 
spond came as enemies instead of 
friends, and spiked the cannon 
parked in front of the City Hall. 
In this extremity Manning sent a 
deputation to the Dutch commander 
to inquire why he had come " in 
such a hostile manner to disturb 
His Majesty's subjects." 

' ' We have come, ' ' he replied, 
" to take what is our own, and 
our own we will have." 

Manning tried to gain time by 
procrastination. The war - ships 
floated up with the tide within musket-shot of the fort without firing a 
gun. At the end of half an hour the ships fired broadsides and killed and 
wounded some of the gnrrison. The fort returned the fire, and shot the 
flag-ship " through and through." Then six lumdred men were landed, 
when about four hundred armed burghers encouraged their countrymen 
to storm the fort. 



Perceiving resistance under the circumstances to be useless, a white 
flag was displayed over the fort, and a deputation was sent out to meet 
the advancing storming party at near sunset. A capitulation was soon 
effected, when the fort and garrison were surrendered with the honors 
of war. The Dutch soldiers marched into the fort and the English 
soldiers marched out of it with colors flying and drums beating, and 
grounded their arms. Then the English garrison was ordered back, and 
were made prisoners of war in the church within the fort. The tri- 
colored banner of the Dutch Republic took its old place on the flag-staff 
of the fort, and the heart of Stuyvesant, who was a witness of the event, 
was filled with joy. New Amsterdam had been snatched from the 
Dutch by an English robber, who came stealthily while Holland and 
Great Britain w^ere at peace. New York had been honorably taken by 
a Dutch squadron — an open enemy — engaged in war with Great Britain. 
The name of New Netherland was now restored to the reconquered 
territory. It then had three chief towns, thirty villages, and between 
six and seven thousand Dutch inhabitants. Fort James was renamed 
Fort William Henry in honor of the Prince of Orange. Captain 
Anthony Colve* was chosen to be governor-general of the province, his 
commission defining it as extending from " fifteen miles south of Cape 
Hinlopen to the east end of Long Island and Shelter Island ;" on the 
main north from Greenwich as defined in 1650, and including " Dela- 
ware Bay and all intermediate territory possessed by the Duke of York." 

The name of the city of New York was changed to New Orange, 
and Albany to Willemstadt. The municipal government was re-estab- 
lished after the Dutch pattern. Anthony de Milt was appointed schout, 
Johannes van Brugh, Johannes de Peyster, and -^gidius Luyck were 
chosen burgomasters, and William Beeckman, Jeronimus Ebbing, 
Jacob Kip, Laurens van der Spiegel, and Gelyn Yer Planck were 
made schepens.\ Evertsen and Binckes issued a proclamation ordering 

* Colve was " a man of resolute spirit, and passionate," whose arbitrary nature had 
not been improved by military training. When made governor, he sought to magnify 
the office by setting up a coach drawn by three horses. He ruled with energy and some- 
times with severity. When an English force demanded the surrender of the province to 
English rule, provided by treaty, and Edmond Andros claimed the right to take the seat of 
Colve, the latter yielded to the inevitable with grace. He even went so far as to present to 
Andros his coach and three horses. After the formal surrender Colve returned to Holland. 

f After the recovery of New York by the English Captain Manning was tried by a 
court-martial on a charge of cowardice and treachery, found guilty, and sentenced to 
have his sword broken over his head by the executioner in front of the City Hall, and 
forever incapacitated to hold any office, civil or military, in the gift of the crown. Gov- 
ernor Lovelace was severely reprimanded, and his estates were confiscated and given to 


the seizure of all property and debts belonging to the kings of France 
and England, or their subjects, and urging every person to report such 
property to the Secretary of the Province, Nicholas Bayard. De 
Ruyven, who had been made the receiver of the duke's revenue, 
although an old Dutchman, was required to give a strict account. 

The swift reconquest of I^ew York startled the other English colonies 
in America, and some of them prepared for war. Connecticut foolishly 
talked of an offensive war. Colve was wide awake, and watched current 
events around him with great vigilance. He kept his eye on the move- 
ments of the Frenchmen and barbarians on the north ; watched every 
hostile indication on the east, and compelled hesitating boroughs on 
Long Island and in Westchester to take the oath of allegiance to the 
Prince of Orange. He made strong the fortifications of New York, 
planting no less than one hundred and ninety cannons around the city 
and on the fort. 

The triumph of the Dutch was of short duration. The reconquest 
was an accident, not the result of a preconceived plan. The happy 
dreams of a Belgic empire in America were, in a few months, suddenly 
dispelled, for a treaty negotiated at Westminster (London) early in 1G74 
ended the war, and upon the principle of reciprocal restitution, New 
Netherland was restored to the British crown, and remained thereafter a 
British province until the war for independence in 1775-83. Doubts 
having arisen respecting the effects of these political changes upon the 
duke's title to his American possessions, the king confirmed it by issuing 
a new charter in June, 1674. 

Meanwhile France had been endeavoring to establish and extend her 
dominion on the borders of the great lakes, especially Ontario. The 
strong right arm of her power in this work was composed of Jesuit mis- 
sionaries, who carried the lilies of France wherever they displayed the 
emblems of Christianity. French soldiers followed in the path of these 
missionaries. Wars between the French and barbarians within the 
domain of the State of New York, as well as alliances, had taken place. 
In the hearing of the barbaric tribes the imposing ritual service of the 
Church of Rome had been read and chanted for more than a score of 

At the period of the political changes in New York here mentioned, 
the Jesuits were active among the Iroquois. They had established a sort 

the Duke of York. Admiral Evertsen, the commander of the Dutch forces that retook 
New Netherland, assisted in conveying the forces of William, Prince of Orange, to 
England in 1688. 


of metropolitan station among the Mohawks at Caiighnawaga, on the 
north side of the Mohawk River, in (present) Fulton County, and were 
successful in making converts among the Mohawks and Oneidas. 

"Working in concert with the missionaries, for State purposes, was the 
able Governor-General of Canada, Count Louis Frontenac. Learning 
from the Jesuits early in 1673 that the Iroquois were not well disposed 
toward the French, he made a pompous visit to the eastern end of Lake 
Ontario and there held a conference with delegates from the Five Nations, 
whom he had invited to meet him. The object of the conference was 
to impress the barbarians with a sense of the power of Canada. With 
two bateaux gaudily painted, each carrying sixteen men and a small 
cannon mounted, accompanied by one hundred and twenty canoes and. 
fonr hundred men, he ascended the St. Lawrence. The conference was 
held on the site of Kingston. It was exceedingly friendly. The count 
tried to persuade the Iroquois sachems and chiefs to consent to allow 
their youths to learn the French language. He called the Five Nations 
his " children," and in every way tried to win their supreme affection for 
the French. But he was unsuccessful ; he only won their friendly feel- 
ings, and a safeguard for the missionaries 
among them. He did not weaken in the 
least degree their attachment to the 

Frontenac had begun a fort — the after- 
ward famous Fort Frontenac of history signature op edmond andros. 
— where the conference was held, when, 

leaving a small garrison in the fort, he returned to Montreal. The great 
minister of Louis XIY., Colbert, sent word to Frontenac that he had 
better imitate the Dutch at Manhattan and Orange, and instead of 
'' prosecuting distant discoveries, to build up towns and villages in 

On the reconquest of New York by the English the important question 
arose : " Who shall be sent to govern the province ?" Nicolls was dead, 
and Lovelace was incompetent. The king commissioned Sir Edmond 
Andros,* major of dragoons, who was then thirty-seven years of age, to 

* Sir Edmond Andros was born in London in 1637. His family were distinguished on 
the island of Guernsey. After serving as Governor of New York from 1674 to 1684 he 
returned to England, and entered the service of his king at the palace. Appointed 
Governor of New England, New York, and New Jersey in 1688, he exercised arbitrary 
power until the Revolution dethroned his master. King James II., that year, when he 
was deposed and sent to England. In 1692 Andros was made Governor of Virginia, and 
so remained until 1698. In 1704 he was created Governor of Guernsey, and died at West- 
minster in 1713. 


fill that station. lie had been brought up in the royal household ; -whs 
a favorite of the king and the duke ; a good French and Dutch scholar ; 
a thorough royalist ; an obedient servant of his superiors, and was well 
fitted to perform the part which his masters appointed him to play. His 
private character was without blemish, and the evil things spoken of him 
relate to his public career. This man played a conspicuous part in 
American history for a few years. 

Andros received the government of New York from Colve in October, 
1674. With all their political disabilities under him, the people of that 
province prospered and were comparatively happy. Luxury had not 
corrupted their tastes, and their wants were few. A man worth three 
thousand dollars was considered rich ; the possessor of five thousand 
dollars was considered opulent. There was almost a dead level of 
equality in society. Beggars were unknown. " Ministers were few, 
but religions many," and out of matters of faith grew many contro- 
versies. There seemed little reason for the twenty thousand inhabitants 
of the domain to be unhappy ; but the divine instinct of freedom, which 
demanded a free exercise of the rights of self-government, made many 
of them discontented and in some places mutinous. The career of 
Andros in America outside of I^ew York was more striking — more 
dramatic than witliin that domain. 

Andros in his zeal exceeded his master's instructions, and very soon 
he acquired the just title of "tyrant." The duke, his master, was a 
strange compound of wickedness and goodness, slow to perceive right 
from wrong, and seldom seeing truth in its purity. Bancroft says of 
him : *' A libertine without love, a devotee without spirituality, an 
advocate of toleration without a sense of the natural right to freedom of 
conscience — to him the muscular force prevailed over the intellectual. 
He was not bloodthirsty ; but to a narrow mind fear seems the most 
powerful instrument of government, and he propj)ed his throne [when 
he became king] with the block and gallows. He floated between the 
sensuality of indulgence and the sensuality of superstition, hazarding 
heaven for an ugly mistress, and, to the great delight of abbots and nuns, 
winning it back again by pricking his flesh with sharp points of iron and 
eating no meat on Saturdays." The Duke of Buckingham said well 
that " Charles would not and James could not see." 

One of the first of the acts of petty tyranny of Andros was the im- 
prisonment of leading citizens of New York — Steenwyck, Van Brugh, 
De Peyster, Bayard, Luyck, Beeckman, Kip, and De Milt — on a charge 
of "disturbing the government and endeavoring a rebellion." Their 
offence consisted in an expressed desire not to take an unconditional oatli 


of allegiance to Charles Stuart, and petitioning the governor for leave to 
sell their estates and to remove elsewhere. 

Andros proceeded to enforce jurisdiction over every foot of territory 
included in the duke's charter of 1564 — Pemaquid, in Maine, the islands 
of Martha's (Martin's) Vineyard and Nantucket, and disputed domains 
on the Delaware. He also claimed jurisdiction -over all the territory 
\vest of the Connecticut River. The authorities of Connecticut disputed 
the claim, and Andros denounced their action as " rebellion against the 

Finding the French were tampering with the Iroquois, Andros went 
to Albany, regulated some affairs at Schenectady, and penetrated the 
Mohawk Valley a hundred miles beyond. On his return to Albany he 
received solemn assurances of the friendship of the Five Nations, and 
then he organized the first " Board of Commissioners for Indian Affairs." 
This was a most important measure, and its operations were salutary for 
a hundred years. He appointed as its secretary Robert Livingston, then 
town clerk of Albany, a shrewd Scotchman who had lately come over 
from Rotterdam, and who afterward became prominent in colonial affairs. 
The Five Nations gave Andros the name of " Corlear," in memory of 
their good friend, Arendt van Curler or Corlear, who, as we have 
observed, was commissary of Rensselaerwyck, and who was drowned in 
Lake Cham plain. 

It was at this juncture that King Philip's War* broke out and spread 
great alarm throughout New England. Andros sympathized with his 
countrymen in their distress, but could not spare a military force to aid 
them ; but he sent six barrels of gunpowder to the Rhode Islanders (who 
were excluded from the New England Confederacy), and invited any of 
them who should be driven out by the Indians to come to New York 
and be welcomed as guests. There was no good feeling between the 
'' United Colonies of New England " (see p. 58) and Andros. 

* Massasoit, the warm friend of the " Pilgrim Fathers" at New Plymouth, had two 
sous, called respectively by the English, Philip and Alexander. The former was the 
elder, and succeeded his father as sachem. Perceiving that the English were undoubtedly 
determined to deprive him of his domain, he listened favorably to the counsels of his hot 
young braves, and began a war for the extermination of the white intruders. At his 
seat at Mount Hope, in Rhode Island, he planned a federation of all the New England 
trilies for that purpose. Exasperated by an untoward occurrence, lie suddenly struck 
the first blow thirty miles from New Plymouth, and for about a, year he spread terror 
and desolation far and wide. Finally he was killed in a hiding-place by another Indian. 
His wife and little son had been made prisoners. The Christians of Massachusetts delib- 
erated whether to kill or .sell into slavery to fellow-Christians in Barbadoes this innocent 
pagan boy. The latter measure was the most profitable, and it was adopted. 



Late in 1677 Andros went to England to look after his private affairs, 
leaving Anthony Brockholls * in charge of the government of I^ew 
York. Brockholls administered j)ublic affairs wisely for a few months. 
Meanwliile the governor had been knighted by King Charles, and he 
returned to l^ew York Sir Edmond Andros. During his absence a royal 
marriage had taken place which had an important bearing upon the 
destinies of New York — nay, of the world. It was the marriage of 
William, Prince of Orange, the acknowledged leader of the Protestants 
of Europe, to his cousin Mary, daughter of the Duke of York. The 
duke was a Roman Catholic by conviction, and the marriage was dis- 
tasteful to him. 

The duke, regardless of the rights of Berkeley and Carteret, had 
given Andros sufficient authority to allow him to annoy these proprietors 
and the settlers in their domain. Berkeley sold his interest to English 
" Friends" or Quakers, and Carteret consented to a division of the terri- 
tory into East and West Jersey. He held East Jersey. The proprietors 

of West Jersey, making liberal 
concessions to settlers, soon at- 
tracted a numerous population to 
that region. But Andros was a 
chronic disturber. He caused the 
duke to claim the right to rule 
all New Jersey, and Andros at- 
tempted to exercise it. A judicial 
decision soon freed it absolutely 
from the duke's control, and late 
in 1681 the first Representative 
Assembly met at Salem, in West Jersey, and adopted a code of laws. 
East Jersey was also sold to Quakers, and numerous settlers came there 

Meanwhile William Penn, an English Quaker, son of Admiral Penn 
(who was a friend of the king and the duke), had become a proprietor of 
West Jersey, having obtained from Charles a grant of a domain (March, 
1681) including " three degrees of latitude and five degrees of longitude," 
west of the Delaware River, in payment of a loan made by the king from 


* Anthony Brockholls was of a Roman Catholic family in Lancashire, England, and 
was a " professed Papist" himself. He came to New York at about the time of its sur- 
render to the Dutch in 1674, and was named as the successor of Governor Andros in the 
event of the death of the latter. In 1681 he was appointed receiver-general of the prov- 
ince, and in 1683 he became one of the council of Governor Dongan. For fully thirty 
years Brockholls was a very active man in public affairs in the province of New York. 


Penn's father. The domain was named in the charter " Pennsylvania.'' 
Penn obtained, by grant and purchase of the duke, the territory com- 
prised in the present State of Delaware, and on coming to America the 
next year, the agent of the duke surrendered it to Penn. 

Andros had been suddenly recalled from New York in the autumn of 


1682, and Brockholls again became acting governor. Nothing of 
special interest in public affairs occurred during his administration of 
nearly three years, excepting a claim to Staten Island as a part of East 
Jersey, made by Lady Carteret, widow of the deceased proprietor. The 
matter was soon settled by the sale of East Jersey. 



SiK Edmond Andkos had ruled New York about nine years with vigor. 
He liad kept peace with the Iroquois Confederacy ; crushed rehgious 
enthusiasts ; frowned upon every sign of repubhcanisni, and asserted 
with great tenacity the power of the duke, his master, within the char- 
tered limits of his territory. Meanwhile the duke had listened to the 
appeals of the inhabitants of New York and heeded the judicious advice 
of his friend, William Penn, to give the people more liberty ; and he 
sought an able and enlightened governor to take the place of Andros. 
He found such a man in Thomas Dongan,* a younger son of an Irish 
baronet, and then about fifty years of age. He was a Roman Catholic, 
enterprising and active, a " man of integrity, moderation, and genteel 
manners. ' ' 

Under instructions from the duke, Dongan ordered an election of a 

General Assembly of Representatives of 
the people, their number not to exceed 
Their functions were to as- 
sist the governor and Council in framing 
laws for the "good of the colony," 
SIGNATURE OF GOVERNOR DONGAN. the dukc rescrvlng to himself the right 

to examine and approve or reject such 
laws. The representatives were to be allowed free debate among them- 
selves in considering proposed laws. Thus the people of New York 
were first allowed to share the colonial political authority. 

It was a notable event in the history of the State of New York when, 
on October 17th, 1683, the first General Assembly of the Province of 
New York, composed of ten councillors and seventeen representatives 
of the people, met at the City Hall and were addressed by Governor 

* Governor Dongan had served in the French army ; was a colonel in the royal 

army, and had been Lieutenant-Governor of Tangier. Wlien he resigned his office of 
Governor of New York to Andros, in 1688, he retired to his farm on Long Island. With 
tlie assumption of power by Leisler, a strong anti-Romau Catholic spirit was fostered, 
and Dongan being a Papist, was wrongfully regarded with suspicion. Because he had a 
brigantine constructed to carry him on a visit to England, he was charged with a trea- 
sonable design against William and Mary, in favor of dethroned King James. He went 
to Boston, sailed thence to England, and afterward became Earl of Limerick. 


Dongan, whose sympathies were in unison witli the popular desires. 
The Assembly chose the experienced Matthew Nicolls speaker and John 
Spragg clerk. They sat three weeks and passed fourteen acts, all of 
which were assented to by the governor, with the advice of his Council. 
The first of these acts was entitled " The Charter of Liberties and Priv- 
ileges, granted by His Royal Highness, to the Inhabitants of New York 
and its Dependencies." It declared that the supreme legislative power 
should forever be and reside in the governor, council, and people, met 
in General Assembly ; that every 'freeholder and freeman should be 
allowed to vote for representatives without restraint ; that no freeman 
should suffer but by judgment of his peers ; that all trials should be by 
a jury of twelve men ; that no tax should be assessed, on any pretence 
whatever, but by the consent of the Assembly ; that no seaman or soldier 
should be quartered on the inhabitants against their will ; that no martial 
law should exist, and that no person professing faith in God, by Jesus 
Christ, should at any time be anywise disquieted or questioned for any 
difference of opinion. Not a feature of the intolerance and bigotry of 
the New England charters appeared in this first 
" Charter of Liberties" for the province of New 

This act was read in front of the City Hall on 
the morning after its passage in the presence of 
the governor, his Council, the Assembly, the 
municipal officers, and the people, the latter 
having been summoned to the joyous feast by 
the sounding of trumpets. In this charter was 
again enunciated the postulate of the Nether- 

1 J .. m i- 11 ^1 NEW YOUK COUNTY SEAL. 

lands — iaxation only by consent. 

The next act that was passed provided for the 
division of the province into twelve counties or shires. The names of 
the twelve are still retained, but their territorial dimensions have been 
much modified by the erection of new counties from parts of some of 
them. The names and boundaries of these political divisions as given in 
the act of 1683 are as follows :* 

The City and County of New Yo7'Jc bear the name of the duke's first 
title. It included all Manhattan Island, and several adjacent islands. 

Westchester County embraced all the territory eastward of Manhat- 
tan to the Connecticut hue, and northward along the Hudson River to 
the Highlands. 

* The seals of the several counties represented on page 99 were of those in use in 1875. 


Duchess County was so named in honor of the duke's wife, the 
Duchess of York.* It extended from "Westchester northward to Albany 
County, and " into the woods twenty miles." 

Orange County extended from New Jersey northward along the Hud- 
son River to Murderer's Creek (now Moodna's Creek), above tlie High- 
lands near Now Windsor, and westward to the Delaware Kiver. It was 
so named in honor of the duke's son-in-law, the Prince of Orange. 

Ulster County derives its name from the duke's Irish earldom. It 
extended from the northern boundary of Orange County along the river, 
and " twenty miles into the woods" as far north as Saugerties. 

Albany County, bearing the duke's second or Scotch title, extended 
indefinitely northward from RoeloflP Jansen's Kill (Creek) on the east 
side of the river, and on the west side from Saugerties northward to 
" the Saraaghtoga. " 

liichmond County, which included Staten Island and two or three 
smaller islands, was probably so named in honor of the king's illegiti- 
mate son by the Duchess of Portsmouth, the Duke of Richmond. 

Kings and Queens counties occupied the western portion of Long 
Island from Oyster Bay and Hempstead, and was named in honor of the 
monarch and his wife. 

Siuffolk County embraced the eastern portion of Long Island, and 
derived its name from that of the most easterly county in England, 
south of Norfolk. 

The duke's possession in Maine (at Pemaquid) was called Cornwall 
County. The islands off the coast of Massachusetts which were included 
in his charter were constituted Duke's County. 

Courts of justice were established by the Assembly in the several 
counties. These consisted of four tribunals — town courts, county 
courts or Courts of Sessions, a court of Oyer and Terminer, and a court 
of Chancery to be the Supreme Court of the province. The latter was 
composed of the governor and his Council. But every inhabitant of 
the province was allowed the right to appeal to the king from the judg- 

* When the names of the counties were given, the title of the wife of a duke was 
spelled with a " t " — dutehcss — and so continued in the English language until the ap- 
pearance of Johnson's Dictionary, in 1755. He gave it the orthography of its French 
derivitivc — ducfiesse — omitting the final e. The name being spelled with a " t " in the 
early records of the State, it was not changed when the orthography of the name of the 
wife of a duke was changed, and through inadvertence and ignorance of its origin, the 
name of Duchess County has been spelled with a " t" until within a few years, when 
attention was calletl to the fact that the county was named in honor of the Duchess of 
York. It is now universally spelled without a " t" by well-informed people. It is so 
spelled in the United States Census Reports of 1880. 



ment of any court. All the laws passed bj this first General Assembly 
of New York were read to the people in front of the City Hall, and 
were then sent to England for the consideration of the duke.* 
^TDongan conducted his " foreign relations" with spirit. He told the 
pestering Connecticut authorities that if they did not keep quiet and 


adhere to the boundary agreement of 1650, which was a line twenty 
miles east of the Hudson River, he should proceed to claim the original 
territory defined in the duke's patent, eastward to the Connecticut 

* Late in 1683 the city of New York was divided into six wards, named respectively 
North Ward, South Ward, East Ward, West Ward, Dock Ward, and Out Ward. 
James Graham, one of the late aldermen, was commissioned the first recorder of New 


River. He renewed the claims of Andros to sovereignty over the Five 
Nations. At an interview with Mohawk leaders at Albany, in the pres- 
ence of the Governor of Virginia (Lord Effingham), he enjoined them 
not to deal with the French without his leave, nor allow any of that 
nation to live among them excepting the missionaries. The Mohawks 
readily assented, and so unfriendly did the Iroquois deport tliemselves 
toward the French that most of the missionaries, alarmed, went back to 
Canada. Dongan also warned the French, M'ho had come among the 
Indians at Pemaquid — especially the Baron de Castin * — to come under 
the duke's authority or to leave the region. So thoroughly did Dongan 
win the respect and reverence of the Iroquois that they called Albany 
their ' ' sixth castle. ' ' Four of the nations requested the governor to put 
the Duke of York's arms on their castles as a protection against the 

When, in 1682, the Count de la Barre became Governor-General of 
Canada he resolved to bring the Iroquois into subjection to the French. 
This design he cherished continually, but he found the energetic Dongan 
a bar to his ambitious schemes. A crisis came early in 168-1. De la 
Barre was preparing to attack the Senecas. Dongan notified him that 
all the Iroquois nations were subject to the Duke of York ; that the 
duke's territory extended to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, 
and that if the French did not come south of those waters the English 
would not go north of them. Dongan's tone was so firm, yet concilia- 
tory, that De la Barre paused for awhile. In the following summer he 
made an attempt to carry out his threat with the aid of the Jesuit mis- 
sionaries, but signally failed. The Intendant of Canada said he was 
*' fooled in the most shameful manner" by Dongan and the Iroquois. 

York,* who took a seat on the bench of the Mayor's Court on the right hand of the 
Mayor. The shipping of the port of New York at that time consisted of three barks, 
three brigantines, twenty-seven sloops, and forty -six open boats. 

* The Baron de Castin, a French nobleman and military leader, established a trading 
house at the mouth of the Penobscot River, and exhibited hostile movements, at times, 
toward the duke's possessions in Maine. He married the daughter of an Indian chief. 
In 1695, accompanied by Iberville, he led about two hundred Indians against Pemaquid, 
and captured it. 

* James Graham, the first recorder of the city of New York, was a Scotchman and kinsman of the Karl of 
Montrose. He was an able lawyer, and practised his profession while conducting a mercantile business in 
New York. He was an alderman in 1680, and became attorney -general and one of the Council in 1685. 
He was attorney-general under Andros, In Boston, shared the odium of the governor, and on the downfall 
of the latter was imprisoned awhile. In 1691 he returned to New York, was elected to the Assembly, and 
became its Speaker. He was again in the Council In 1699. Graham had been active in urging the execution 
of Leisler, and shared the fortunes of the auti-Leislerians, which ended his public career In 1701. He died at 
Morrieania the same year. 



The discomfited De la Barre wrote to the French minister that his cam- 
paign had been " bloodless !" It had been fruitless as well, and worse. 
^ Earl}^ in February, 1685, King Charles II. died at the age of fifty-five 
years, a worn-out libertine. His brother, the Duke of York, took his 
place on the throne of Great Britain as James II. He had hesitated 
about sending the j)romised " Charter of Liberties" to Kew York ; now, 
as king^ he positively refused to confirm what, as ditke^ he had prom- 
ised. He instantly began to demolish the fair fabric of civil and relig- 
ious liberty which had been raised 
with BO much hope in New York. 
A direct tax was ordered without 
the consent of the people ; the 
printing-press — the right arm of 
knowledge and freedom — was for- 
bidden a place in the colony ; and 
as he had determined to establish 
the Roman Catholic faith as the 
State religion throughout his realm, 
the provincial offices were largely 
filled by adherents of the Italian 

The liberal - minded Dongan 
lamented these proceedings ; and 
when the scheming monarch in- 
structed the governor to introduce 
French missionaries among the 
Five ]S"ations, he resisted, the 
measure as dangerous to the Eng- 
lish power on the American 
continent. Fortunately the Iro- 
quois Confederacy remained firm in their friendship for the English 
in after years, and stood as a powerful barrier against the aggressive 
French when the latter twice attempted to reach the white settlers at 
Albany with hostile intentions. 

The clear-headed and right-hearted Dongan stood by the people and 
the interests of England with a firmness which finally offended the mon- 
arch. Dongan knew that the king had a great love for the French, and 
when he saw the advantages which he was disposed to give them in 
America by his unwise acts, he could not but regard his sovereign's con- 
duct as treason toward his country. For his faithfulness he was rewarded 
with the gratitude of the people of New York and the displeasure of 



the monarch, who dismissed him from the office of governor. He 
received a letter from James in tlie spring of 1688 ordering liim to sur- 
render tlie government into the hands of Andros, wlio held a vice-regal 
commission to rule New York and all New England. New York was 
made a royal British province. It had been a dukedom of a royal Eng- 
lish subject for about twenty years. James was proclaimed king, at 
New York, on April 22d, 1685. 

In the mean time, Dongan had experienced more trouble with the 
French. The Marquis de Nonville had become Governor of Canada. 
He resolved to build a fort at the mouth of the Niagara Kiver to over- 
awe the Iroquois, and he prepared to attack the Senecas. The Jesuit 
missionaries united with him. To counteract their influence, Dongan 
summoned the Five Nations to a conference at Albany in the spring of 
1686.* The Indians asked to be relieved of the French priests at their 
castles, to be replaced by English priests. The governor promised to 

establish an English church at Saratoga, and 
to ask the king to send over English priests ; 
at the same time he warned the Iroquois of 
De Nonville' s intention to attack them. 

De Nonville now appealed to Dongan as 
a Roman Catholic to aid him in converting 
the Indians to Christianity. Dongan was not 
deceived by this false pretence. He promised 
to do all he could to protect the missionaries 
among the barbarians ; that was all. The 
Governor of New, York outwitted and out- 
generalled the Governor of Canada at every 
point, though the latter was ably assisted by the venerable Lamberville, 
the Jesuit priest at the Onondaga Castle. Exasperated beyond measure, 
the discomflted De Nonville wrote to the French Minister : " I am dis- 
posed to go straight to Orange [Albany], storm their fort, and burn the 
whole concern." 

In May, 1687, De Nonville, with a force of over two thousand French 


* In 1686 (July 22(1) Governor Dongan incorporated Albany as a city, with large fran- 
chises, including the management of the Indian trade, and appointed Peter Schuyler to 
be its first mayor, Isaac Swinton its recorder, and Robert Livingston its clerk. Dirck 
Wessels, Jan Jansen Bleecker, David Schuyler, Johannes Wendell, Levinus van 
Schaick, and Adraien Garritse were appointed aldermen ; Joachim Stajtts, John Lansing, 
Isaac Ver Planck, Lawrence van Ale, Albert Ryckman, and Elbert Winantse, assistants ; 
Jan Bleecker, chamberlain ; Richard Pretty, slieriff ; and James Parker, marshal. Such 
was the first political organization of the city of Albany, the capital of the State of New 


regulars, Canadians, and Indians, coasted along the southern shores of 
Lake Ontario and penetrated the Seneca country from Irondequoit Bay. 
Eight hundred of his regular troops had been sent over from France for 
this expedition. The invaders desolated the Seneca country, destroying 
all the stored corn (more than a million bushels), the growing crops, 
cabins, and a vast number of swine belonging to the natives. Then De 
Nonville took possession of the country in the name of the French 
king ; but by an act of foul treachery and atrocious cruelty he gave a 
death-blow to Jesuit missions among the Five Nations, and confirmed 
their friendship for the English. De Nonville had employed Lamber- 
ville, the venerated Jesuit priest at Onondaga Castle, to decoy many 
Iroquois chiefs into a stronghold under the pretence of holding a confer- 
ence. There the dusky representatives of their people were seized, put 
in irons, sent to France, and committed to the chain-galleys at Marseilles. 
This was done to strike the Five Nations with terror. It had an oppo- 
site effect. Tlie missionaries had to flee for their lives before the 
angered braves, and Lamberville was saved only by the generous protec- 
tion of the chief of the Onondagas. 

In the spring of 1688 the province of New York was " consolidated " 
with New England under a colonial viceroy (Sir Edmond Andros), and 
formed a part of the ephemeral political organization known as the 
" Dominion of New England." At this time the king, as he informed 
the Pope, was preparing to " set up the Roman Catholic religion in the 
English Plantations." 

The viceroy arrived in New York from Boston in August, and was 
received by the loyal aristocracy with great parade. In the midst of the 
rejoicings news came that the young queen (James's second wife) had 
given birth to a Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne. The event 
was celebrated by the royalists the same evening by bonfires in the streets 
and a banquet at the City Hall. At the festive board Mayor Van Cort- 
landt became so hilarious, it is said, that he made a burnt sacrifice to his 
loyalty of his hat and periwig, waving the blazing victims over the 
banquet table on the point of his straight sword. 

The Dutch inhabitants of New York (as well as the Protestant repub- 
licans) were disappointed. They had looked forward with hope for the 
accession of James's daughter Mary, the wife of their own Protestant 
Prince of Orange, to the throne of Great Britain ; now it could not be 
hoped for excepting on the death of the infant Prince of Wales or 
revolution. The latter alternative was near at hand. 

The folly and recklessness of King James in his efforts to establish the 
Roman Catholic as the State religion of his realm alarmed the Pope, 


who said to his cardinals : " We must excommunicate this king or lie 
will destroy the little Catholicism which remains in England." Before 
this remedy could be applied the fate of King James was fixed. His 
folly and recklessness had aroused the whole English people to a keen 
sense of the danger impending over their liberties. 

The crisis was soon reached. The king unwisely declared that none 
should serve him but such as would aid him in his designs. There was 
soon an open rupture between the monarch and the Anglican Church 
and the great universities, which he sought to control. The royal 
soldiers in camp, the Churchmen and Dissenters, the Whigs and the 
Tories coalesced in sentiment, and an invitation was sent secretly to 
William of Orange to come and " deliver the land from pojiery and 
slavery. ' ' 

William had expected such an invitation for a long time, and was 
ready to accept it. He gathered a fleet in Holland, for what purpose 
neither James nor his friend and coreligionist, Louis of France, knew. 
After accepting the call of a nation for help, William published a decla- 
ration that he was bound for England to save the liberties of the people 
there, and to investigate the alleged birth of a Prince of Wales,* in 
which matter he and his wife were deeply concerned. 

With a strong land and naval force William reached Torbay, on the 
coast of Devonshire, where he landed on November 5th, 1G8S. The 
best men of the country joined his standard. James was forsaken by 
his army and family ; even his son-in-law. Prince George of Denmark, 
who married the Princess Anne, joined the deliverers. Perceiving that 
all was lost, James secretly sent his queen and infant son to France, and 
soon followed them thither. He left his palace a little after midnight in 
December, and cast his Great Seal into the Thames ; but he was brought 
back. He succeeded in reaching France not long afterward. So ended 
the Stuart dynasty in Great Britain. 

On the flight of the king the government authority was assumed by 
the House of Lords. They requested William of Orange to take control 
of public affairs and to call a convention,' to assemble on January 22d 
following. That body declared William and Mary joint sovereigns of 
Great Britain. James made efforts to recover the throne he had abdi- 
cated, but failed. 

News of the revolution in England first reached Virginia, whence it 

* It was alleged that the son of James's Italian wife was only a supposititious child, 
the offspring of another beside the queen. He was excluded from the succession. 
In 1715 he laid claim to the crown of Great Britain, and is known in history as " The 
Old Pretender." 


was carried to New York, in February (1689), by a skipper, and com- 
tTinnicated to Francis Nicholson at Fort James. He was the lieutenant- 
governor of the province. He forbade its divulgence among the people, 
as he wished to prevent any " private tumults" until he could 
communicate with Andros, who was at Fort Charles at Pemaquid. 
Andros had departed from Pemaquid for Boston when the express 
arrived, and reached that place at near the close of March. The people 
there, suffering from the tyrannies of Andros, were on the verge of open 
insurrection when, on the 14th of April, a vessel brought to Boston 
authentic information of the accession of William and Mary. Andros 
was seized and cast into prison, and soon afterward he, with fifty of his 
political associates, was sent to England, charged with maladministra- 
tion of affairs in the colonies. 

Meanwhile a crisis in public affairs had been reached at New York. 
The people there were also on the verge of insurrection when the * ' great 
news" was revealed in that city. The authority of Lieutenant-Governor 
Nicholson was questioned by 
a large portion of the inhabi- 
tants of the city and province. 
Two parties were formed, one 
composed of the adherents of 
James, the other of the friends 


oi Wilham and Mary, ihe 
former embraced the aristo- 
cratic citizens, including Nicholas Bayard, the commander of the 
city militia, the members of the council, and the municipal authori- 

The friends of the new monarchs formed a large majority of the citi- 
zens. Tliey maintained that the entire fabric of the imperial govern- 
ment, including that of the colonies, had been overthrown by the revolu- 
tion, and that, as no person was invested with authority in the province, 
it reverted to the legitimate source of all authority — the 2:>eople — who 
might delegate their powers to whomsoever they would. 

Among the principal supporters of this view was Jacob Leisler, a 
German by birth, a merchant, the senior captain of one of the five train- 
bands of the city commanded by Colonel Bayard, and one of the oldest 
and wealthiest inhabitants. His wife was Alice, daughter of Govert 
Loockermans. He was a zealous opponent of the Roman Catholics, and 
a man of great energy and determination. He was kind and benevolent, 
and was very popular. He had just bought lands in Westchester County 
to form an asylum for persecuted Huguenots, who had fled from France 



after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.* The domain was named 
!New Rochelle, after Rochelle in France, from wliich place many of 
them came. 

Rumors of terrible things contemplated by the adherents of James 

spread over the town, and produced great 
excitement. The five companies of militia 
and a crowd of citizens gathered at the house 
of Leisler, and induced him to become their 
leader and guide in this emergency. Colonel 
Bayard attempted to disperse them, but he 
was compelled to fiy for his life. A distinct 
line was now drawn between the aristocrats^ 
led by Bayard, Yan Cortlandt, Robert Liv- 
ingston, and others, and the democrats — the 
majority of the people — who regarded Leisler 
as their leader and champion. At his sug- 
gestion a " Committee of Safety" was formed, 
composed of ten members — Dutch, Hnguenot, 
and English. They constituted Leisler " Captain of the Fort," and in- 
Axsted him with the jDOwers of commander-in-chief — really chief magis- 
trate — until orders should come from the new monarch. This was the 



first really republican ruler that ever attained to power in America. 
He took possession of Fort James and the public funds that were in it, 
and in June, 1689, he proclaimed, with the sound of trumpets, William 
and Mary sovereigns of Great Britain and the colonies. Then he sent a 

* Jacob LeLsler was born at Frankfort-on-the-Main, and emigrated to America in 1660. 
In 1683 he was appointed one of the commissioners of the Court of Admiralty at New 
York, and was the leader in the popular movement of assuming the functions of govern- 
ment on hearing of the revolution in England. The people chose him to be their governor 
until the new British sovereigns shoidd send them one. His political enemies finally 
brought him to the scaffold in 1691. 


Jetter to the king, giving him an account of what he had done. The New 
Englanders commended Leisler's acts. Lieutenant-Governor Nichol- 
son, lacking spirit, and fast bound by " red tape," perceiving the strong 
support given to Leisler by the New Yorkers, departed for England after 
formally giving authority to his councillors to preserve the peace during 
his absence, and until their Majesties' pleasure should be made known. 

At this juncture the northern colonies were thoroughly alarmed by the 
opening hostilities of the French and Indians on the frontiers. A 
convention of delegates from the colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, 
Connecticut, and New York assembled at Albany, and there held a con- 
ference (September, 1689) with the heads of the Five Nations. The New 
England delegates tried to persuade the Iroquois to engage in the war 
against the Eastern Indians, but they wisely declined. They, however, 
ratified the existing friendship between them and the English colonists. 


Nicholson's desertion of his j)ost gave Leisler and tlie liepublicans 
great advantages. He ordered the several counties of the province to 
elect their civil and military officers. Some counties obeyed, and others 
did not. The counter influence of Nicholson's councillors was contin- 
ually and persistently felt, and Leisler and his party became greatly 
incensed against them, especially against Baj'ard, who was the chief insti- 
gator of the opposition to the " usurper," as he called the Republican 
leader. So hot became the indignation of Leisler and his friends that 
Bayard was compelled to fly for his life to Albany. The other council- 
lors, alarmed, soon followed him. At Albany they acknowledged allegi- 
ance to William and Mary. They set up an independent government, 
and claimed to be the true and only rulers of the province. In this 
position they were sustained by the civil authorities at Albany. 

Leisler now sent his son-in-law, Jacob Milborne, an Englishman, with 
three sloops filled with armed men and ammunition to take possession 




of Albany, protect the inhabitants against the menaced attack of the 

French from Canada, and to assert there the supreme power of the peo- 
ple's governor at New York. Mil- 
borne was instructed to withhold 
assistance against the barbarians in 
ease he should be denied admission 
to the fort. 

Mil borne, with his force, arrived 
at Albany early in November, and 
demanded of Mayor Schuyler, \\\\o 
had been appointed the commander 
of the fort, admission to it. It 
was refused. At that time a 
convention, largely controlled by 
Robert Livingston, composed of 
delegates from each ward in the 
city, was sitting daily in Albany, 
and exercising executive authority 
temporarily. A deputation was 
sent from the convention to meet 
Milborne, They introduced him 

to the convention, when he harangued the members for some time, but 

with little effect. Then he presented his credentials to the recorder, and 

afterward harangued the populace in front of 

the City Hall, but they were not responsive. 
Milborne now took a bolder step. He flung 

open the gate of tlie city near the fort, marched 

his men out with loaded guns, and drawing 

them up in front of the stronghold, made a 

peremptory demand for its surrender. Schuy- 
ler refused compliance, and caused a protest 

of the convention to be read from one of the 

bastions. Some Mohawk warriors, wlio had 

been watching Milborne's movements from a 

neighboring hill, sent word to Schuyler that 

if the New Yorkers should attack the fort 

they would fire on them. Perceiving his 

peril, Milborne took counsel of prudence, 

withdrew, dismissed his men in confusion, and 

hastened back to New York. A letter soon came from the sheriff at 

Albany reporting treasonable words spoken by Robert Livingston con- 






' cerning King "VYilliam. Leisler ordered Livingston's arrest, but he 
escaped to jSTew England. Soon after this event a letter arri ved at New 
York by a special messenger from the British Privy Council, directed to 
"Francis Nicholson, Esq., or, in his absence, to such as, for the time 
being, take care for preserving the peace and administering the laws in 
His Majesty's province of New York." Bayard having heard of the 
document, entered the city in disguise, had a clandestine interview with 
the bearer of the letter, and claimed .the right, as one of N icholson's 
councillors, to open the despatch. The messenger refused to let him 
have it, but delivered it to Leisler, whom he found acting as governor 
by the grant of the people. Leisler at once caused the arrest and im- 
prisonment of Bayard on a charge of a " high misdemeanor against His 
Majesty's authority." From this 
time the opposition to Leisler's 
government assumed an organized 
shape, and was sleepless and re- 
lentless. Leisler justly regarding 
himself as invested with supreme 
power by the people and the 
spirit of the letter from the 
Privy Council, at once assumed 
the title of lieutenant-governor ; 
appointed councillors ; made a 
new provincial seal ; established 
courts, and called an assembly to 
provide means for carrying on 
war with Canada. The aggres- 
sive old Count Frontenac was 
again governor of that province, 
and was making preparations to 
extend the French dominion southward, 
be noted presently. 

Colonel Henry Sloughter was appointed Governor of New York, but 
did not arrive until the spring of 1691. Richard Ingoldsby, a captain 


The conflict that ensued will 

* The first great seal of the province of New York was sent over by Governor 
Sloughter from William and Mary in 1691. It bears the full-length effigies of the joint 
sovereigns, before whom kneel two Indians in the position of offering gifts. The woman 
presents to the queen a beaver-skin ; the man presents to the king a roll of wampum. 
On the reverse of the seal are the royal arms of Great Britain, with the inscription round 
the circumference : Sigillum Proving : Nosr : Nov : Ebor : etc. in America. This 
seal was superseded by one sent by Queen Anne in 1705. 



of foot, arrived early in tlie year, with a company of regular soldiers, to 
take possession of and hold the government until the arrival of the gov- 
ernor. He was urged by Leisler's enemies to assume supreme power at 

once, as he was the highest royal 
officer in the province. He haugh- 
tily demanded of Leisler the sur- 
render of the fort, without deigning 
to sliow the governor his credentials. 
Leisler, of course, refused, and or- 
dered the troops to l)e quartered 
in the city. Ingoldsby attempted 
to take the fort by force, but 
failed. For several weeks the city 
was fearfully excited by rival fac- 
tions — '' Leislerians" and " anti- 

On the arrival of Governor 

Sloughter, in March (1691), Leisler 

at once loyally tendered to him the 

fort and the province. Under the 

influence of the enemies of Leisler, the royal governor responded to this 

meritorious action by ordering the arrest of the lieutenant-governor ; 

also Milborne, and six other " inferior insurgents" — Abraliam Gouver- 


)^o0 L/ 


neur (Leisler's secretary), Gerardus Beeckman,* Johannes Vermilye, 
Thomas Williams, Myndert Coerten, and Abraham Brasher — on a 

* Gerardus Beeckman, son of William Bceckman, was a leading citizen of New York, 
living at Brooklyn. He wsis a physician, and took a prominent part in public affairs. 
He was one of Leisler's warmest adherents, and was a member of his council. After 
Leisler's death Dr. Beeckman was tried for treason, condemned, and sentenced to bo 
hung, but was pardoned by order of the king in 1694. He was a member of the provin- 
cial coimcil under Governors Cornbury, Hunter, and Burnet, and died in 1724. 



dharge of high treason. Tlie accused were imprisoned. " Bayard's 
chain was put upon Leisler's leg." The enemies of the latter were re- 
solved on swift revenge. 

When the accused were arraigned, Leisler and Mil borne refused to 
plead to the indictment, for they denied the 
authority of the court which had just been 
organized for the purpose, and was composed 
wholly of Bayard's j)olitical friends. The 
judges were all councillors, and the petit jury 
was composed of "youths and other bitter 
men," quotes Brodhead. The trial, as had 
been predetermined, resulted in the convic- 
tion of the accused, and they were sentenced 
to be hanged. All but Leisler and Milborne 
were afterward pardoned. The excepted 
prisoners had appealed to the king, but the 
perfidious councillors did not send their ap- 
peal to His Majesty ! 

Evident enemies of Leisler, in Albany, sent 
word to Bayard, at whose house Governor Sloughter was staying, that 
the Mohawks, disgusted with the mismanagement of Leisler, were in 
treaty with the French, and that it was indispensable that the governor 
should quickly conciliate the Five ISTations. Bayard urged the governor 



to act promptly. So urged, he asked the opinion of his Council, in which 
Bayard was most powerful. That body unanimously resolved, " That, 
as well for the satisfaction of the Indians as the asserting of the govern 


ment authority residing in liis Excellency, and preventing insurrections 
and disorders for the future, it is absolutely necessary tliat the sentence 
pronounced against the principal offenders be forthwith put into execu- 
tion." This resolution was communicated to the Assembly, which 
answered, " that this House, according to their opinion given, do approve 
of what his Excellency and Council have done." 

The governor hesitated ; for, though a libertine in morals and an 
habitual drunkard, lie was a jnst man, and had determined not to sign 
the death-warrants of the convicted until he should hear from his sov- 
ereign, supposing Leisler's appeal had been sent to him. 

Meanwhile the people, in large numbers, signed petitions to the gov- 
ernor for the pardon of these prisoners. The council became alarmed, 
and caused tlie arrest of some of those who brought the petitions. Fear- 
ing the effects of the daily increasing clamor of the people ; determined 
to have tlie lives of the prisoners, and finding they could not induce 
the governor to violate justice or his conscience, the councillors con- 
spired to extort from him liis signature to the death-warrant by foul 
means. They invited him to a dinner-j)arty at the house of one of 
them, on Staten Island, on a beautiful day in May. One of the coun- 
cillors carried to the banquet a legally drawn death-warrant, and when 
the governor was sufficiently stupefied by excessive draughts of wine, 
he was induced to sign the awful paper, unconscious of its purport. It 
was sent to the sheriff at New York the same evening, and the next 
morning Leisler and Milborne were summoned to prejDare for immediate 
execution. They sent for their wives and children, and after a sorrow- 
ful parting, the two victims were led to the scaffold in a drenching rain. 
Their enemies, fearing the governor might reprieve the prisoners, kept 
him drunk, and the victims were hanged before he became sober.* 
The scaffold stood near the site of the Tribune building, on Printing 
House Square, New York. 

An eye-witness of this murder by the form of law wrote that just at 
the moment of the execution the lieavens grew black, the rain fell in 
torrents, and the screams of women, who were present, were heard 
on every side. Restrained by the troops, only a few citizens were 
present. Milborne, seeing among them Livingston, one of the worst 

* We have observed that six of the friends of Leisler condemned to death were 
pardoned. On the day of the execution of Leisler and Milborne (May 16th, 1691) 
the Legislature of New York passed an act for the pardon of all such as had been 
active " in the late disorders." Twenty-two persons received the benetit of this act. In 
1699 an act of indemnity was passed in favor of all these jwrsous excepting Leisler and 


enemies of Leisler, said, " Kobert Livingston, I will implead thee at 
the bar of Heaven for this deed." Leisler uttered a prayer for bless- 
ings npon the province and his family ; and alluding to his enemies, 
he said, " Father, forgive them ; they know not what they do." 

" Thus perished," says Hoffman, " the loyal and noble Captain Leisler 
of New York ; so loyal to his king, so noble to his compatriots." 
His enemies extended their malice to his family and that of Mil- 
borne. They were attainted, and their property was confiscated. 
But justice was swift in righting a great wrong. Before four years 
had passed by their property was restored, and the British Parlia- 
ment declared that Leisler and Milborne were innocent of the crime 
of treason. 

When the governor became sober, he was appalled at w^hat he had 
done. He was so keenly stung by remorse and afflicted by delirium 
tremens that he died a few weeks afterward. Calm and impartial 
judgment, enlightened by truth, now assigns to Jacob Leisler the high 
position in history of 2^]patriot and martyi'. 



The revolution of 1688 in England produced much suffering in some 
of the Enghsh colonies, for it was the cause of war between Great Britain 
and France, which extended to their respective American dominions. 
It continued about seven years, and is known in American history as 
"King William's War." 

In this conflict the Indians bore a conspicuous part, and terrible were 
many of their achievements. Under the influence of Jesuit priests they 
became allies of the French. 

Hostilities began in the East in the summer of 1689. The Indians 
attacked the frontier settlements of New England in July, killing and 
torturing many white people. In August a war- party fell upon the 
stockade at Pemaquid, in Maine, and captured the garrison. A few 
months later Governor Frontenac sent an expedition into Xew York, 
with the design of seizing Albany. He had gathered at Montreal a 
large military force of French and barbarians, and in the dead of winter 
(February, 1670) he despatched over two hundred French and Indians 
(eighty of the latter were " praying Indians," or Roman Catholic con- 
verts), under two lieutenants, with orders to penetrate the Mohawk 
country and attempt the capture of Albany. 

The weather was intensely cold, and the snow was deep. The ex- 
pedition traversed the wilderness with snow-shoes. It was resolved at 
a council to first attack Schenectady, a stockaded village containing about 
eighty comfortable houses, on the bank of the Mohawk River. A few 
Connecticut soldiers were in it. As the expedition drew near the place 
they met some Indian women who directed them how to enter the vil- 
lage secretly by one of the two gates, which was always standing open. 
The villagers, unsuspicious of any danger, felt so secure that a few 
hours before the attack, when warned by the commander of the soldiers 
to be vigilant, they set up some snow images in mockery to personate 

The blow fell upon Schenectady suddenly and with frightful energy 
at midnight, while the inhabitants were asleep. Sixty-three persons 
were massacred, twenty-seven were carried into captivity, and the Dutch 
Church and sixty-three houses were laid in ashes. Nearly all of the 
little garrison were killed. A few persons escaped to Albany, travelling 


through the snow in the keen wintry air in their night-clotlies. In- 
formed of the strength of Albany, the invaders did not attempt its cap- 
ture, but hastened back toward Canada with their phinder. 

Governor Leisler now proposed a union of New York and New Eng- 
land, in an effort to conquer Canada and expel the French from the 
Continent. At the suggestion of Massachusetts he called a Colonial 
Congress, which met in New York in xlpril — the first ever convened in 
America. An arrangement was made for an invasion of Canada. All 
the colonies were aroused to a sense of mutual danger, and the Congress 
resolved to invade Canada by land and sea. It was agreed that New 
York should provide 400 men ; Massachusetts, 160 ; Connecticut, 135, 
and Plymouth, 60, while Maryland promised 100, making a total land 
force of 857. 

To stimulate Massachusetts to undertake a naval expedition against 
the French, Leisler fitted out three war-vessels for the capture of 
Quebec, commissioned to " attack Canada and take French prisoners at 
sea." This little squadron — the first war-ships sent out from New York 
— sailed late in May, with orders to stop at Cape Ann, and going on to 
Port Royal, Acadia, " entice the Boston fleet" to go with them. The 
latter, commanded by Sir William Phips, and bearing about eight hun- 
dred men, did go to Port Royal (May, 1690), and seized and plundered 
it. That place was soon afterward plundered again by English privateers 
from the West Indies. 

Encouraged by these successes, another expedition was planned, having 
for its object an invasion of Canada by land and water. It was arranged 
for an army to march from Albany by way of Lake Champlain to 
Montreal, and at the same time a strong naval armament was to sail 
from Boston, ascend the St. Lawrence, and attack Quebec. The army 
was placed under the command of General Winthrop, a son of Governor 
Winthrop, of Connecticut, the cost of the expedition to be borne 
jointly by that colony and New York. The command of the fleet, 
which was composed of thirty-four vessels manned by two thousand 
New Englanders, was given to Sir William Phips, who, as we have 
observed, had seized and plundered Port Royal a short time before. 

The army moved slowly from Albany early in July. The greater 
portion of the troops had only reached the head of Lake Champlain 
(now White Hall) early in September, where they remained for want of 
boats or canoes, while some white troops and Iroquois Indians, com- 
manded by Captain John Schuyler, pushed on toward the St. Lawrence. 
Old Count Frontenac was in Montreal when he was informed of the 
approach of the invaders. He called out his Indian allies, and taking a 


tomaliawk in his hand, the aged nobleman danced tlie Avar-dance and 
chanted the war-song in their presence. Tlie excited braves were then 
led by him against the foe. Schuyler was compelled to withdraw, and. 
the whole army returned to New York. The expedition was a failure, 
partly from a want of supplies and partly from sickness. 

Phips sailed from Boston, and without pilots or charts crawled cau- 
tiously around Acadia and up the St. Lawrence for nine weeks. A swift 
Indian runner, starting from Pemaquid, carried the news of the naval 
expedition to Frontenac at Montreal in time to enable him to reach 
Quebec with re-enforcements early enough to strengthen its defences 
before the arrival of Phips. When the " admiral " appeared before the 
town and demanded its surrender, Frontenac treated the summons with 
contempt.* Failing in attempts to take the city, and hearing of the 
failure of the land expedition, Phips returned to Boston. 

Leisler attributed the failure of the land expedition to Winthrop, and 
even charged him with treachery, and \n\t him under arrest awhile. 
Winthrop charged the failure chiefly to the incompetency of Milborne, 
Leisler's son-in-law, who had engaged to furnish boats for transportation 
and all other supplies, but failed to do so in time. 

The French and their barbarian allies in Canada and Acadia were 
greatly elated by the repulse of their assailants ; and so important was 
the event regarded by French statesmen, that King Louis caused a medal 
to be struck bearing his likeness on one side and on the other a figure 
seated on military trophies, symbolizing France, with the legend around 
it : " France Yictorious in New England." The expedition ex- 
hausted the treasury of Massachusetts, and compelled the Government 
to emit new bills of credit. The first emission was in February, 1690, 
and was the first paper money ever issued on the continent of America. 

On the death of Governor Sloughter (June IGth, 1091) the care of 
the Government devolved upon Dudley,f the chief-justice and senior 

* Sir William sent a messenger with a written demand for the surrender of the city. 
The bearer was taken, blindfolded, before Frontenac, who, after reading the demand, 
angrily threw the paper in the messenger's face, and gave his answer that " Sir William 
Phips and those witli him were heretics and traitors, and had taken up with that usurper 
the Prince of Orange, and had made a revolution which, if it had not been made. New 
England and the French had all been one ; and that no other answer was to be expected 
from him but what should be from the mouth of his cannon." 

f Joseph Dudley was born in Roxbury, Mass., in 1647 ; died there in 1720. He repre- 
sented his native town in the General Court from 1673 to 1681, and was one of the Com- 
missioners of the United Colonies of New England. In 1682 he was agent of the colony 
of Massachusetts in England. James II. appointed liim President of New England in 
1685, and in 1687 he was commissioned Chief -Justice of the Superior Court, and the next 
year he was sent to England with Audros by the Bostoniaus, who expelled them from 


member of the governor's council. He was then absent at Curaqoa. 
His associates filled his place temporarily with Captain Ingoldsby, who, 
as commander of the troops, had more real power than any one else in 
the province. He held the position until late the next year, when, at 
the close of August, Colonel Benjamin Fletcher, who had been commis- 
sioned Governor of New York, arrived. Fletcher w^as by profession a 
soldier, a man of strong passions, inconsiderable ability, aristocratic in 
his tendencies, opposed to all popular concessions, averse to religions 
toleration, and very avaricious. Fortunately for himself and the public 
welfare, he early became acquainted with Major Peter Schuyler, of 
Albany, who had almost unbounded influence over the Five Nations 
The governor appointed him one of his council, and his influence there 
was equally salutary. He so guided the conduct of the governor that 
he saved the magistrate from becoming intolerably obnoxious to the 
people, for Fletcher s incessant solicitations for money, his passionate 
temper, and his bigotry were continually manifested. During the whole 


of his administration of seven years, party rancor, kindled by the death 
of Leisler, burned intensely, and at one time menaced the province with 
civil war. He adopted the views of the anti-Leislerians, and became 
their supple instrument. 

Although the New York Assembly was filled with bitter opponents of 
Leisler, they, as boldly as he, asserted the supremacy of the people, and 
would suffer no encroachments on colonial rights and privileges. They 
rebuked the interference of the governor in legislation by insisting upon 
amendments to bills, and drew from him on one occasion the reproachful 
words which tell of their independence and firmness : " There never 
was an amendment desired by the Council Board," said Fletcher, " but 

the colony. Then he was made Chief -Justice of New York (1690), where he served until 
1693, when he returned to England and was made Deputy-Governor of the Isle of Wight. 
He was in Parliament in 1701, and from 1703 until 1715 he was Captain-General and 
Governor of Massachusetts. Retired to private life at Roxbury. 


wliat it was rejected. It is a sign of a stiil>born ill-temper." With 
that " stubborn ill-temper" of the Assembly the governor was almost 
continually in conflict, and when he was recalled he seemed as glad to 
leave the province as the people were to get rid of him.* 

From the beginning of Fletcher's administration, Frontenac almost 
continually gave the province uneasiness by his attempts to win the Five 
Nations to the French interest by persuasions and threats. Failing to 
persuade them, he struck the Mohawks a severe blew early in 1693. 
Colonel Schuyler hastened from Albany with pale and dusky volunteers 
to the aid of the Iroquois, and drove the invaders back. lie re-took 
about fifty captives from the French. 

When Fletcher heard of this invasion, he hastened to Albany with 
three hundred militia volunteers. The river being free of ice, they 
ascended it to Albany in sloops, with a fair wind, in three days. This 
promptness and celeritj'^ gained great credit for the governor. The 
Iroquois called him '' The very Swift Arrow." 

The restless Frontenac continually disturbed the Five ^N^ations and the 
English by menaces, until finally, in the summer of 1696, he invaded 
the heart of the country of the Iroquois with a large army. He had 
gathered at Montreal all the regulars and militia under his command and a 
host of Indian warriors ; and in light boats and bark canoes they ascended 
the St. Lawrence, entered Lake Ontario, and crossed it to the mouth of 

* To Governor Fletcher "was intrusted the large powers of commander-in-chief of the 
militia of Connecticut and New Jersey. Late in the autunm of 1693 he went to Hartford 
with Colonel Bayard and others to assert his authority there, which had been questioned. 
He ordered out the Connecticut militia when the season for parades had ended. The 
charter of the colony denied Fletcher's jurisdiction. The Assembly, then in session, 
promptly gave utterance to that denial on this occasion. Fletcher haughtily said to the 
governor : " I will not set my foot out of this colony until I have seen His Majesty's 
commission obeyed. " The governor yielded so much as to allow Captain Wadsworth to 
call out the train-bands of Hartford. 

When these troops were assembled Fletcher stepix?d forward to take the command, and 
ordered Bayard to read his Excellency's commission. At that moment Wadsworth 
ordered the drums to be beaten. 

" Silence !" angrily cried Fletcher, and Bayard began to read again. 

" Drum ! drum ! I ssvy !" shouted Wadsworth, and the voice of Bayard was drowned 
in the sonorous roll that followed. Fletcher, enraged, stamped his foot and cried, 
" Silence !" and threatened the captain with punishment. Wadsworth instantly stepped 
in front of the irate governor, and while his hand rested on his sword-belt, he ssiid in a 
firm voice : 

"If my drummers are interrupted again I'll make the sunlight show through you. 
We deny and defy your authority." 

The governor was a coward. He meekly folded up his commission, and with his ret- 
inue retired to New York. He complained to the king, but nothing came of it. 


the Onondaga River at Oswego. This narrow and rapid stream they 
ascended (carrying the boats around the falls) to Onondaga Lake, fifty 
men marching on each side of the river. The Onondagas had sent away 
their wives and children, and had determined to defend tlieir castle near 
the shore of the lake ; but when they discovered the number of the in- 
vaders and the nature of their weapons, they set lire to their village and 
fled into the deep forest. The old Count Frontenac was carried in 
an elbow-chair. His only trophy was a venerable sachem about one 
hundred years old, who saluted him at the castle. With the count's 
permission the French Indians put the old man to the most exquisite 
tortures, which he bore with amazing fortitude and defiance. 

When the invaders turned their forces toward Canada, the Onondagas 
pursued them, and annoyed them all the way. This expensive expedi- 
tion and the continual incursions of the Five Nations into the country 
near Montreal spread famine in Canada. Frontenac continued to send 
out scalping parties until tlie treaty of Ryswyk, in 1697, brought com- 
parative peace to the contending nations. Count Frontenac died the 
next year. 

From the beo^inninor of liis administration Fletcher made strenuous 
efforts to introduce the Anglican Church, with its ritual, into the city and 
province of New York. He was very intemperate in his zeal to accom- 
plish his purpose, for he was a bigot. A majority of the inhabitants of 
the province were of Dutch descent, and were members of the Dutch 
Refonned Church, which they regarded as the established church in 
New York. 

The governor succeeded in j^rocuring from the Assembly, in 1693, an 
act which he construed as giving him the right to recognize the Anglican 
instead of the Dutch Reformed Church as the State religion. Under 
this act Trinity Church was organized, and its first edifice for public 
worship was completed in 1696.* The first printing-press in the prov- 
ince was set up by William Bradford, a Quaker from Philadelphia, in 
1693. He was afterward employed by the city government to print the 
corporation laws and ordinances. In 1725 Bradford began the publica- 

* This church corporation still exists. The first vestrymeu were : Thomas Weuham 
aucl Robert Lusting, church-wardens ; Caleb Heathcote, William Mcrritt, John Tudor, 
James Emott, William Morris, Thomas Clarke, Ebenezer Wilson, Samuel Burt, James 
Everts, Nathaniel Marston, Michael Howden, John Crooke, William Sharpas, Lawrence 
Reed, David Jamison, William Huddleston, Gabriel Ludlow, Thomas Burroughs, John 
Merritt, and William Janeway. 

There is no drawing of the first church edifice in existence. The engraving represents 
the second or enlarged church, erected in 1737. It was destroyed by fire in 1776. 



tion of a newspaper in New York, the first ever issued in that province. 
During Fletcher's administration an organized system of piracy (its name 
softened to " privateering") grew iip and extensively prevailed, espe- 
cially on the coasts of New York and the middle provinces. Some of 
these marauders sailed out of the port of New York, and merchant ves- 


eels were seized and plundered in sight of that port. The system was 
then encouraged by governments as a strong arm in fighting their ene- 
mies, and by men in high places, who, as shareholders in " privateers," 
found it profitable. It finally became so odious, so absolutely piratical, 
and so injurious to commerce, that it was resolved to break up the system. 
Fletcher's direct and indirect connection with the pirates, his petty 
tyranny, his participation in frauds in making grants of land, and his 
universal unpopularity caused his recall in 1695, when Richard Coote, 
Earl of Bellomont,* an Irish peer, was appointed his successor. The 

* Richard Coote was born in the county of Sligo, Ireland, in 1636, and succeeded his 
father as Baron of Coloony in 1683. He was among the first who espoused the cause of 
the Prince of Orange in 1688. On. the accession of James he went to the Continent, but 
returned in 1688 and became a member of Parliament. He was made the treasurer of 
Queen Mary, and was created Earl of Bellomont. Succeeding Fletcher as Governor of 
New York, his conduct there made him popular. Bellomont died in New York City. 



earl was specially charged to investigate the conduct of his predecessor, 
ynj^o enforce the navigation laws, and to suppress piracy. But the earl 
did not arrive in the province until April, 1698, when he bore the com- 
mission of governor not only of 
New York, but of Massachusetts 
and New Hampshire. To assist 
him in his arduous duties, he 
brought with him his kinsman, 
John Nanfan, as Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor of New York. The British 
Government seemed powerless to 
suppress the pirates. They infested 
almost every sea. Before Bellomont 
left England a stock company was 
formed for the purpose of at- 
tempting the task. It was com- 
posed of the king. Governor 
Bellomont, several noblemen, Rob- 
ert Livingston, the first " Lord of 
the Manor of Livingston," and 
others. They fitted out the galley 
Adventure as a "privateer," well 
manned, armed, and provisioned. 

Livingston, who had proposed the scheme, recommended Captain William 
Kidd, a notable ship-master of New York (then in England), as her 

commander.* He was commis- 
sioned by King William, sailed 
from Plymouth for New York in 
April, 1696, and soon did noble 
service in clearing American waters 
of pirates. Then he sailed for East- 
ern seas with a crew of one hun- 
dred and fifty-five men to ineasure strength with the pirates in the 
Indian Ocean. 



* This privateering company was proposed by Robert Livingston, who offered to be 
" concerned with Kidd a fifth part in the ship and charges. The king approved the proj- 
ect, raising a tenth share to show tliat lie was concerned in the enterprise." Lord Chan- 
cellor Somers, the Duke of Shrewsbury, the Earls of Romney and Oxford, Sir Edward 
Han-ison, and others joined in the scheme to the amount of $30,000. The management 
of the whole affair was left to Lord Bellomont. Kidd sailed from Plymouth for New 
York in his own ship in April, 1696. 


Kidd was successful as 2t, privateer, but soon became a jj)irate himself. 
At Madagascar he exchanged his ship for another, and swept the seas 
for booty from Farther India to the coasts of South America, respect- 
ing no flag or nationality. Thence he made his way homeward (1698), 
and on Gardiner's Island, east of Long Island, he buried much treasure, 
consisting of gold, silver, and precious stones. His piracies were known 
in England long before the company noticed them. The belief l^ecame 
general that the monarch, the earl, the Lord of the Manor and tlieir 
noble associates had shared the plunder with Kidd. It became neces- 
sary to vindicate their character. They needed a scapegoat, and Kidd 
was made their victim. After burying his treasures he appeared openly 
in Boston, for in his pocket was his king's commission, and Governor 
Bellomont, who was there, was his partner in business. What had he to 
fear ? Tlie earl, expressing a horror of Kidd's crimes, ordered his arrest, 
and he was brought before his associates a prisoner in irons. 

Kidd sought Bellomont's favor by revealing to him the place where 
the treasures were liidden. It was a critical moment for the earl, for 
his safety lay in an attitude of immovable firmness. lie was deaf to the 
prayers of the prisoner and the entreaties of his wife for mercy, human 
and divine, for her erring Imsband. There was a severe struggle in the 
breast of tlie governor between pride and fear and his better nature. 
The former triumphed. Kidd was sent to England in fetters to be tried on 
a charge of piracy and murder. He was convicted of the second-named 
offence, and was hanged in London, in May, 1701. So the penalty of 
omission, at least, of the associate king and nobles and rich citizens was 
l)orne by the poor commoner on the scaffold. The earl secured the 
buried treasure, and at his coffers its history ends in impenetrable 

Bellomont arrived at New York in the spring of 160S. Before he 
sailed for America he had learned much concerning public affairs in the 
jjrovince from Robert Livingston, who had been one of the bitterest 
foes of Leisler. Aware that the new governor had espoused the cause 
of Leisler and Milborne, and always willing to favor the stronger side 
in public questions, Livingston now changed liis political position. On 
his return to New York he was found to be a professedly warm friend 
of the new governor, as he had been of Fletcher. He had shared with 
the latter the profits of "privateering," and had flourished under his 
ofticial favor. Now as Bellomont had attached himself to the democratic 
or Leislerian party, Livingston found himself oj^posed to his old asso- 
ciates. Bayard, Yan Cortlandt, and others, who still held places in the 
council, and wielded much power. Livingston had become a patwon — 


the possessor of a manorial estate of many thousand acres on tlie eastern 

border of the Hudson Riv^er, south of the Yan Rensselaer Manor. 

Active, shrewd, and intelligent, he became one of the most useful men 

in the province. 

The Provincial Assembly convened on the ISth of May, 1698. It 
comprised nineteen members. In his speech to them the governor 
alluded to the legacy his predecessor had left him — " a divided people ; 
an empty purse ; a few miserable, naked, lialf -starved soldiers, not half 
the number the king allowed pay for ; the fortifications and even the 
Government House very much out of repair ; the province a receptacle 
of pirates, and the Acts of Trade violated by the neglect and connivance 
of those whose duty it was to have prevented it." It w^as a severe 
commentary on the conduct of his predecessor when he added : "I 
will take care there shall be no misapplication of the public money ; I 
will pocket none of it myself, nor shall there be any embezzlement by 
others." Perceiving the danger to be apprehended from so small a 
body through undue influences, the governor recommended an increase 
of the number of representatives to thirty. 

The Assembly was strongly anti-Leislerian in its composition. The 
members agreed in a hearty address of thanks to the new governor, but 
really in nothing else. They wrangled continually. The late elections 
formed a subject for angry controversy. At the beginning of June six 
members seceded, when the governor dissolved the Assembly, and soon 
afterward dismissed two of his council who were specially obnoxious. 
They were all anti-Leislerians, and friends of Fletcher. * 

Bellomont found the province disturbed by the continued hostile atti- 
tude of the French in Canada toward the Five Nations. He sent 
Colonel John Schuyler and Dominie Dellius (April, 1698) to Count 
Frontenac, at Montreal, with tidings of the treaty of peace at Ryswyk, 
and a request for an exchange of prisoners, " whether Christians or 
Indians," who had been taken in wars between the French and the Five 
Xations and the English. The old count, still claiming for France 
sovereignty over the Iroquois, refused to give up barbarian prisoners ; 
and Jesuit priests insisted upon keeping up missionary stations among 
the Iroquois in defiance of the opposition of the latter. Bellomont 
finally said to Frontenac :" If it is necessary I will arm every man in 
the provinces under my government to oppose you, and redress the 
injury you may perpetrate against our Indians." He added that he 

* The following gentlemen composed the council : Frederick Philipse, Stephen Van 
Cortlandt, Nicholas Bayard, Gabriel Mienvielle, William Smith, William NicoU, Thomas 
Willett, W^illiam Pinhorne, John Lawrence. 


would not suffer tliem to be insulted ; and lie threatened to execute the 
laws of England upon the missionaries " if they continued longer in 
the Five Cantons." Another war seemed to be impending, but this 
certainty was averted by the death of Frontenac in the fall of 1698.* 
During this controversy, Bellomont visited Albany to strengthen the 
Iroquois by his presence and by material aid. On his return he com- 
pleted the weeding out of obnoxious members of his council. Pinhorne 
and Brook had been dismissed from office in June, and now Bayard, 
Mienvielle, Willett, and Lawrence were suspended, and Philipse re- 
signed. Their respective places were soon filled. Abraham de Peyster, 
Robert Livingston, Dr. Samuel Staats, and Robert Walters took seats 
at the Board. They were all Leislerians. 

The anti-Leislerians perceived that they had nothing to expect from 
the new governor. Indeed, he did not conceal his indifference to their 
praise or censure. He continually opposed and exasperated their leaders. 
Early in the fall of 1698 he granted to the families of Leisler and 
Milborne the privilege of exhuming the remains of their murdered 
kinsmen and giving them Christian burial. They were taken from the 
soil near the gallows into which they had been almost as rvidely thrust 
seven years before as if they were mere brutes. They were placed in 
coffins, and at the request of their political friends they were permitted 
to lie in state in the old City Hall, at Coenties Slip, several days. There 
was fearful public excitement during the time, for this act was fraught 
with a significance almost incomprehensible to us. It was a gauntlet of 
defiance cast by the democracy of the day at the feet of the aristocracy. 

The re-interment of the remains of the martyrs was marked by 
imposing ceremonies. It was late in September, and the autumnal 
"equinoctial storm" was raging. Fearing a riot, the governor fur- 
nished a military guard to the procession of men, women, and children, 
who were preceded by trumpeters and drummers beating a funeral 
march. From the City Hall they moved with solemn tread, unmind- 
ful of the wind and rain, and deposited the precious burdens in one 
grave in the burial-ground of the little Dutch Reformed Church, in 

* On every occasion the French did all in tlicir power to win the alliance and tho 
allegiance of the Iroquois by flattery, by displays of power, and especially by the spectac- 
ular ministrations of the Roman Catholic Church, which captivated the barbaric imag- 
ination. As an illustration, Dr. Cadwalladcr Colden mentions the parade made by the 
French at Montreal on the occasion of tlie funeral of one of their Indians. " The priest 
that attended him at his death," says Colden, " declared that he died a true Christian, 
and as a proof he gave his exclamation on hearing of the crucifixion : ' Oh, had I been 
there I would have revenged his death and brought away their scalps ! ' " 



Gardelt" Street, near Wall Street. * ' ' There was a great concourse of 
people [twelve hundred 'tis said] at the funeral," wrote Belloraont to 
the Lords of Trade, " and would, 'tis thought, have been as many 
more, but that it blew a rank storm for two or three days together, that 
hindered people from coming down or crossing the rivers." 

A new Assembly convened in March, 1699. It was almost entirely 
Leislerian or democratic in character. The governor, lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, and the council were the same. A great change in public affairs 
soon appeared. Among the most radical and influential members of the 
Assembly was Abraham Gouverneur, who had been Leisler's secretary, 
had been condenmed to death but pardoned, and had married the widow 
of Milborne. He represented Orange County. 

Wrongs were righted and wrongs were committed by this reacting 
Assembly. Kighteous indem- 
nifications were granted, and 
liberal allowances were voted 
for the governor and lieuten- 
ant-governor. Such was the 
confidence reposed in the in- 
tegrity and judgment of Bel- 
lomont, that a revenue for six 
years was voted and placed at 
his absolute disposal. 

The most important busi- 
ness of the Assembly was the 
revocation of most extrava- 
gant and fraudulent grants of 
lands by Governor Fletcher 
for money considerations 
which swelled his purse. 

These grants were made to favorites. Among others, and the most con- 
spicuous of the receivers of these grants, was ^Nicholas Bayard, Fletcher's 
right-hand man, whose acres thus bestowed exceeded in number those of 
any patroon. He and others attempted to monopolize all the lands on the 


* This little structure was built of wood, octagonal in form, with a very high, steep 
roof, and a cupola in the centre of it surmounted by a " weather-cock. " It was enlarged 
and repaired in 1776, and was rebuilt of stone in 1807. It stood upon a lane extending 
eastward from Broad Street parallel with Wall Street. The grounds on the lane were 
neatly laid out and well cultivated, and it received the name of " Garden Lane," and 
finally Garden Street, now Exchange Place. When it was built, in 1693, it was considered 
rather too far out of town. 



upper Hudson and t]ie Mohawk River. Dominie Dellius, of tlie Dutch 
Eeformed Church, was convicted of obtaining, by fraud, an enormous 
tract of land from tlic Indians, while holding an official i30sition among 
them, which Fletcher had confirmed on receiving a portion of the 
plunder as a bribe. The timely demolition by the Assembly and the 
governor of these huge schemes of land monopoly removed a great bar 
to emigration to the interior of the province of Kew York. It also 

NEW crrY HALL, NEW YOKK, 1700. 

served to maintain the good-will of the Five Nations, who had been 
disturbed by the operation of these land robbers under Fletcher. 

Earl Bellomont went to Boston in June, 1699, leaving the province 
of New York in the care of Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan. Little of 
public importance occurred during his absence, excepting further mis- 
chievous meddling with the Irocpiois by the French in Canada and the 
Jesuit missionaries. The earl returned in the summer of 1700, and met 
the Assembly. Irritated by the conduct of the French, and especially 
by that of the missionaries, that body, at the earl's suggestion, passed a 
law for hanging every Roman Catholic priest who should come volun- 
tarily into the province — a law which Chief-Justice Smith, the his- 
torian, writing fifty or sixty years afterward, said " ought to bo in full 
force to this day." 

Governor Bellomont died in the city of New York on the 5th of 



arch, 1701. His remains lay in state a day or two, when they were 
buried with pubhc honors under the chapel of the fort. A few days 
afterward his arms were carried in state and placed on the front of the 
new City Hall, then just completed, in Wall Street, at the head of Broad 
Street. His remains, enclosed in a leaden coffin, were transferred to 
St. Paul's churchyard nearly a hundred years afterward, where they 
still lie. 

Lord Bellomont had many and bitter enemies and also warm friends. 
The late Frederick de Peyster, LL.D., wrote on this subject : 

" I am convinced that he was persistently maligned and abused solely 
because he had an eye to the public service and not to individual ad- 
vancement. Strange to say, his enemies Avere to be found among all 
classes — a fact which, to my mind, however, determines his great honesty 
and independence of character. Those engaged in illegal trade hated 
him, because he was not to be bribed or cajoled into tolerating the least 
infraction of laws. The merchants were also his enemies, because he 
would not violate his obligation of office and wink at their evasions of 
the Acts of Trade. All opposed to Leisler and Milborne were against 
him, because he carried out the Acts of Parliament ordering that justice 
be done their memory. Even a greater part of the clergy were arrayed 
against him : those of the Dutch Church because he would not tolerate the 
iniquitous conduct of Dellius [see page 126] ; and those of the English 
Church because he would not alienate a portion of the estate attached to 
the governor's residence. Thus it will be seen the private interests of a 
large class were opposed to law ; and Bellomont, as the representative of 
the law and its faithful administrator, was reprobated and vilified by 
that class." 




New political troubles in tlie province appeared on the death of 
Governor Bellomont (March, 1701). Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan was 
then in Barbadoes, and the question arose, Who shall rightfully exercise 
the powers of government ? The Leislerians declared tliat tlie power 
devolved on the Council collectively ; the president of the Council, 
Colonel William Smith, contended that he alone had a right to exercise 

the supreme provincial pow- 
er. In this view he was 
joined hy Peter Schuyler 
and Robert Livingston. The 
Assembly was perplexed by 
these opinions, and adjourn- 
ed in Ajjril ; and disputes 
continued %vith much asper- 
ity nntil the middle of May, 
when Nanfan returned and 
lawfully assumed supreme 
authority. lie dissolved the 
Assembly in June, A new 
Assembly was chosen, and 
convened on August 19th. 

Meanwhile a grant of an 
immense tract of land had 
been made (July 19th) by 
the Five Nations to the 
British crown to insure pro- 
tection against the French, 
and the king had given out 
of the exchequer $12,500 
for strengthening the de- 
fences at Albany and Schenectady and to build a fort in the Onondaga 
country ; also $4000 for presents to the Indians. These were wise 
measures, and strengthened the bond of friendship between the English 
and the Iroquois. 

The government of the province was now under the full control of the 





Leislerians or Democrats. A new Court of Chancery was organized, tlie 
power of chancellor, as before, being vested in the governor and Council. 
AVilliam Atwood, a zealous Leislerian, was chief-justice of the Supreme 
Court, with Abraham de Peyster * and Robert Walters as his associates 
on the bench. In the Assembly the 
fires of contention blazed fiercely, 
and Livingston, who had taken sides 
wMth Smith in the controversy about 
the lawful depositoi'y of executive 
power, became the object of bitter 
persecutiou by the more radical 
Leislerians. Indeed, the foundations 
of most of the public quarrels of the 
day were laid in personal animosities. 
Such was largely the case during the 
twenty years of warfare between the 
political factions in the province of 
New York from the death of Leisler, 
At the same time the seminal idea 
of republicanism was working pow- 
erfully in the public mind, and there 

was a steady and permanent advance in the direction of popular liberty. 
Governor Nanfan's administration was brief. King William died in 
the spring of 1702 without legitimate issue. His queen, Mary, had died 
several years before, and her sister Anne now became the sovereign of 
Great Britain. Anne appointed her uncle, Sir Edward Hyde (a son of 
Lord Clarendon, and called Lord Combury by courtesy), Governor of 
New York. He was a libertine and a knave, and cursed the province 
with his presence and misrule about seven years. He w^as a bigot, and 


* Abraham de Peyster was a distinguished citizen of New York, and an eminent 
merchant. He was the eldest son of Johannes de Peyster, born in New York City in 
1658, and died there in 1728. He was Mayor of New York between 1691 and 1695 ; was 
afterward cliief- justice of the province and president of the King's Council, in which 
capacity he performed the duties of governor in 1701, on the deatli of Lord Bellomont. 
He was colonel of the military forces of New York, and treasurer of that province and 
of New Jersey. He and William Penn were intimate friends. His spacious mansion on 
Pearl Street was the headquarters of Washington in 1776. It existed until 1856, when 
it was demolished. Colonel de Peyster was considered the most popular man in the city 
of New York in his day. He man-ied his beautiful cousin, Katharine de Peyster, while 
on a visit to Holland. His sister Maria married David Provost. After his death she 
married James Alexander, secretary of the province, and by him became the mother of 
William Alexander, Lord Sterling. 


persecuted all denominations of Christians outside of the Church of 
England. lie embezzled the public money, and on all occasions was the 
persistent enemy of popular freedom and common justice, 

" I know no right which you have as an Assembly," he said to the 
representatives of the people, " but such as the queen is pleased to allow 

This was said in 1705, the year when that Assembly won the first 
substantial victory over absolutism or despotic rule. They obtained 
from the queen permission to make specific appropriations of incidental 
grants of money, and to appoint their own treasurer to take charge of 
extraordinary supplies. This was a bold and important step in the direc- 
tion of popular independence and sovereignty. 

When the news of the appointment of Cornbary reached Kew York 

the aristocracy took heart, and their leaders became insolent and 

defiant ; for they felt sure of the friendship of the new governor. 

Xor were they disappointed, Nicholas Bayard was 

still the most conspicuous of their leaders for zeal 

and activity. He promulgated addresses to the king, 

the Parliament, and to Governor Cornbury, libelling 

the Leislerians and the administrations of Bellomont 

and Nanfan in the most scandalous manner. One of 

these addresses contained thirty-two " Heads of Accu- 

THE DE PEY8TEK ^atiou of tlic EaH of Bellomont," It was specially 

AKMs. untruthful, and was calculated to stir up revolt in the 

colony. This seditious and dangerous paper Bayard 

dared not issue over his own signature, but sigUed it with the fictitious 

name of " John Key." 

Nanfan was aroused to immediate and energetic action. In the spring 
of 1691 Bayard had procured the enactment of a law intended for the 
special punishment of Leisler. That law declared that whoever should 
attempt to " disturb the peace, good, and quiet of the government 
should be deemed a rebel and a traitor, and punished accordingly.' ' Into 
this trap set for Leisler Bayard now fell. Putting this unrepealed law 
in force, Nanfan caused the arrest of Bayard on a charge of treason. 
He was tried before Justice Atwood and his associate justices in Feb- 
ruary (1702), found guilty, and sentenced to be " hanged, drawn, and 
quartered," in accordance with British law. After a virtual confession 
of guilt he was reprieved by Nanfan "until His Majesty's pleasure 
should be known," On the arrival of Cornbury (who had been 
" hunted out of England by a host of hungry creditors") these proceedings 
were all reversed, and Bayard was set at liberty. Governor Cornbary 



espoused the anti-Leislerian party, which immediately arose into power, 
and then began the flight of some of the Leislerian leaders. This 
change was of short duration, 

New York City was sorely smit- 
ten by yellow fever in the summer 
of 1703. The governor transferred 
his court to Jamaica, Long Island, 
where he exercised his bigotry 
and petty tyranny in the most 
scandalous manner. One illustra- 
tive example will suffice. The 
best house in tlie village was the 
dwelling of the Presbyterian min- 
ister, built by his congregation, 
Cornbury begged the minister to 
allow his lordship to occupy the 
parsonage for a while. It was 
cheerfully done. This hospital- 
ity was requited by the seizure 
of the parsonage, the meeting- 
house, and the glebe for the use 

of the members of the Church of England residing there.* When 

resistance to tliis act of robbery was made, 
the victims were subjected to fines and im- 
prisonments ! 

And yet this governor, weak-minded, 
mean-spirited, and vacillating, was so over- 
powered by the indomitable will of the 
people — a hardy, mixed race — that he often 
submitted to reproof, and in tlie poverty 
of his soul and purse he humbly thanked 
the Assembly for simple justice. For three 
years (1705-08) there was no meeting 
' of that body. Intolerance, licentiousness, 
and dishonesty were conspicuous traits in this governor's character. f 



* Lord Cornbury sent au order over liis own signature for the minister (Rev. Mr. 
Hubbard), on July 4th, 1704, to deliver his house and lands to the sheriff, and not 
to fail at his " perill." On the same day he signed an order for the sheriff to eject the 
minister from the premises, claiming that the property belonged to the Anglican Church 
at Jamaica. 

+ " We never had a governor so universally detested," says Smith, the historiap,." nor 




He contracted debts everywhere, and refused to pay ; and wlien, 
in 1708, tlie queen, yielding to the desires of the people, recalled 

him, and he left the chair of 
State, his creditors cast him into 
prison, and kept him there until 
the death of his father the next 
year made him a peer of the realm 
and a member of the House of 
Lords. Then the unrighteous law 
of the kingdom which exempts a 
member of that body from arrest 
and imprisonment for debt set him 
free, and he returned to England. 

One of the most distinguished 
and useful men in the province at 
this time was Caleb Heathcote, 
proprietor of the manor of Scars- 
dale, in Westchester County, a 
representative of the ancient fam- 
ily of Heathcote of Scarsdale, Derbyshire, England, who came to Am- 
erica in 1692, and became a member of Governor Fletcher's council 
the next year. He was an earnest ad- 
herent of the Church of England, and 
exercised his authority judiciously as 
colonel of militia in the maintenance of 
morality and religion.* 

At about the beginning of Cornbury's 
administration war between France and 

England was kindled. It extended to their American colonies. This 
contest, known as " Queen Anne's War," lasted about eleven years, and 

any who so richly deserves the public abhorrence. In spite of his noble descent, his 
behavior was trifling, mean, and extravagant. It was not uncommon for him to dress in 
a woman's habit, and then to patrol the fort in which he lived. Such freaks of low 
humor exposed him to the universal contempt of the whole i^eople. Their indignation 
was kindled by his despotic rule, .savage bigotry, insatiable avarice and injustice, not only 
to the public, but even his private creditors." 

* Caleb Heathcote was a son of the wealthy Mayor of Chester, England. His oldest 
brother. Sir Gilbert Heathcote, was the first President of the Bank of England and Lord 
Mayor of London. Caleb was affianced to a beautiful maiden, and took his bachelor 
brother Gilbert to see her. Smitten by her charms, Gilbert supplanted his brother, when 
Caleb sought relief from the pangs of disappointment, took refuge with his uncle in New 
York, and afterward married a daughter of William (" Tangier") Smith, of Long Island. 
He found Westchester County, he wrote in 1704, " the most heathenish country I ever 




was ended by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Its ravages in the colonies 
were chiefly felt by the English in New England and farther east. The 
Five Nations had made a treaty of nentrality with the French in Canada, 
and they stood as a barrier against incursions of the French and Indians 
into New York. That province enjoyed peace during the long war. 

Jolm, Lord Lovelace, succeeded Corn- 
bury as Governor of New York. He 
did not reach the province until near 
the close of 1708, when he found the 
Assembly and the people strongly demo- 
cratic in their political views. The very 
vices of the late governor had disciplined 
them to the exercise of resistance to op- 
pression and to aspire to self-government, and secured to them the exer- 
cise of rights which might have been postponed for many years. 

The new governor was cordially received by the people, and his course 
was judicious. He called a new Assembly in April, 1709, who, taught 



by experience, refused to vote a permanent revenue without appropria- 
tion, but resolved to raise an annual revenue and appropriate it specifi- 
cally. This would make the servants of the crown dependent upon the 

saw -which called themselves Christians," there being not the "least footsteps of 
religion." Sabbaths were spent in " vain sports and lewd derision. " As colonel of militia 
he ordered his captains to require the men in every town to appoint readers of the Scrip- 
tures on Sundays, and if they refused, to call their men under arms on Sundaj's and 
si^end the day in military exercises. They chose ' ' readers. ' ' Heathcote was Mayor of 
the city of New York from 1711 to 1714 ; judge of Westchester County ; made com- 
mander-in-chief of the forces of the colony ; surveyor-general of the province for some 
time, and from 1715 till 1721 was receiver-general of the customs for all North America. 
Colonel Heathcote 's last will was dated February 29th, 1719. He left his large estate to 
two daughters, one of whom married James do Lancey. 


thp: empire state 

people for tlieir salaries. The Assembly showed a firm disposition to 
assert and maintain all the popular rights which they had acquired, and 
now fairly began the contest in the province of New York l)etween 
democracy and absolutism, which ended in permanent victory for the 
former at the close of the old war for independence three fourths of a cen- 
tury afterward. 

Before the issue concerning the revenue had fairly assumed positive 
form Lord Lovelace died. His lieutenant, Richard Ingoldsby* (the 
contestant with Leisler for power in 1691), succeeded him. During 
Ingoldsb^'s administration of eleven months another feeble attempt was 
made to conquer Canada. 

In this enterprise the province of New York engaged with great 
zeal. The Assembly appointed connnissioners to procure the mate- 
rials for war and transportation ; 
issued bills of credit (New York's 
first paper money), and through 
the powerful influence of Colonel 
Peter Schuyler secured the neu- 
trality and warm friendship of the 
Five Nations. 

New York and New Jersey 
raised an army of about two 
thousand men, and Francis Nichol- 
son, Andros's lieutenant-governor*, 
was made the chief commander 
of these forces. The little army 
moved from Albany for Montreal 
before the close of June, and early 
in August they had halted at the 
southern end of Lake Champlain. 
There they waited long for tidings of the departure from Boston of a prom- 
ised English fleet "destined to attack Quebec. No such tidings came, and 
the sadly disappointed soldiers, as in 1691, were compelled to return 
to their homes, their ranks thinned by sickness and death. This event 


* Richard Ingoldsby, who came to New York in 1691 in command of forces sent with 
Governor Sloughtcr, liad served as a field officer in Holland. We liave observed his 
conduct !it New York in jin^ceding pages. He returned to England on furlough in 
1696, and was absent several years, leaving his wife and children in New York with 
scanty means of support. He was commissioned Lieutenant-Governor of New York and 
New Jersey in 1702, but did not return until 1706. On the death of Governor T-ovelaco 
he administered the government until the arrival of Governor Hunter. 



^6 56 

caused much irritation in the pubHc mind, and weakened the confidence 
of the Five Nations in the puissance of Great Britain. 

Colonel Schuyler,* mortified and alarmed by the apathy and neglect 
of the home government, which seemed unconscious of the importance 
to British interests in America of effecting the conquest of Canada, 
went to England the next year, at his 
own expense, to arouse the court and 
people to vigorous action in support of 
the momentous cause he had espoused. He 
persuaded a sachem from each Iroquois 
nation to accompany him, that the Con- 
federacy might be certified of the immense 
strength of Great Britain. The presence 
of these barbarian kings produced a great 
sensation throughout the realm, especially 
in London. Multitudes followed the dusky 
monarchs wherever they went. Their por- 
traits soon appeared in the print-shops. 
The queen caused them to be covered with 
scarlet mantles edged with gold. They were 
feasted at banquets ; witnessed military 
reviews ; saw a part of the mighty British 

navy ; in a word, they were shown the glories of the kingdom, and were 
deeply impressed by the evidences of British power. They were con- 
veyed to the palace of St. James to stand before the queen ; and they 
gave belts of wampum and signed their totems to documents as pledges 
of their friendship and fidelity. 

The grand objects of Schuyler's mission were accomplished. The 
friendship and loyalty of the Five Nations were secured for the 
English forever, and the Iroquois were made willing to join the 
latter in an attempt to conquer Canada. The new British ministry 
authorized a campaign for the pm*pose. Henry St. John (Lord Boling- 

* Peter Schuyler was one of the most useful men in the province for a period of almost 
forty years. He was the first Mayor of Albany, and there led the movement against 
Leisler. In Governor Fletcher's Council he performed most important public service. 
He was not only a statesman, but the foremost military leader in the province, as his 
ojierations against the French in Canada show. As Commissioner of Indian Affairs, he 
wielded potential influence over the Iroquois Confederacy, and by his courage, skill, and 
goodneas won the affections of the white people and the Indians. The latter called him 
"Brother Quedor." When Governor Hunter retired, Schuyler, as President of the 
Council, became acting governor of the province. As such he displayed great wisdom 
and energy at a trying period 


signature: of loiid bolingbroke. 


broke),* the Secretary of State, planned a naval expedition against 
Quebec to co-operate with a land force of provincials to proceed from the 
Hudson River and attack Montreal. 

A fleet of war-ships — transports and store-ships — bearing marines and 

regular troops was sent to 
Boston early in the summer 
of 1711 under the command 
of Admiral Sir llovenden 
Walker. lie sailed from 
that port with about seven 
thousand regulars and pro- 
vincial troops on the 10th 
of August. Like Braddoek, 
the haughty commander dis- 
dained the opinions and advice of experienced subordinates, and lost eiglit 
of his transports and nearly one thousand men among the rocks at the 
mouth of the St. Lawrence River. The expedition was abandoned. f 
Meanwhile New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had formed a 
provincial army for the capture of Montreal and the holding of the upper 
waters of the St. Lawrence. These were under the command of 
Nicholson, who held a general's commission. They marched from 
Albany, four thousand strong, toward Lake Champlain. Among them 
were six Imndred Iroquois warriors. Hearing of Walker's disaster, these 
troops also abandoned the expedition and returned home. So ended in 
failure the third attempt of the English to conquer Canada. 

Robert Hunter, a Scotchman, succeeded Lord Lovelace as Governor 
of New York. He had risen in military rank from a private soldier 
to brigadier-general. His literary accomplishments had gained for him 
the friendship of Addison and Swift, and his handsome person and 

* II(!nry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke, was born in 1678, and became a member of 
Parliament in 1701. In 1704 he was made Secretary of War, and left office with a 
change in the ministry in 1708. In 1710 he became Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affairs, and was the principal negotiator of the treaty of Utrecht in 1713. lie had been 
created Viscount Bolingbroke, and became prime-minister a few weeks before the death 
of Queen Anne. Being known as a Jacobite, he now fled to France, and entered the 
service of the Pretender, who appointed him his prime-minister. In 1720 he married a 
French lady, and was jxirmittcd to return to England in 1723. He died in 1751. Boling 
broke was a good writer and brilliant orator. Pope addressed his " Essay on Man" to 
St. John. 

f " According to Harley," says Smith, in his Hutory of New York, " this exj-KMlition 
was a contrivance of Bolingbroke, Moore, and the Lord Chancellor Harcourt to cheat 
the public of twenty thousand pounds. The latter of these was pleased to say, ' No gov- 
ernment was worth serving that would not admit of such advantageous jobs.' " 




insinuating manners had won the hand of a peeress — Lady Hay. By her 
influence he obtained the appointment first to the office of Lieutenant- 
Governor of Virginia, and then Governor of New York and New Jersey. 
With Hunter came three thousand German Lutherans, refugees from 
the Palatinate of the Rhine, who had been driven from their homes by 
the persecutions of the King of 
France, and had taken refuge in 
England. The queen and Par- 
liament sent them to America 
free of expense. They settled 
some on Livingston's Manor, 
some in the valley of the Scho- 
harie, others on the Upper Mo- 
hawk at the " German Flats," 
and some in the city of New- 
York, W'here they built a Luther- 
an church. A large portion of these refugees settled in Pennsylvania, 
and became the ancestors of much of the German population in that 
State. A few went to North Carolina. 

It was daring Hunter's administration that the Tuscaroras fled from 
North Carolina (1712) and joined their Iroquois brethren in New York, 
as we have observed, and so made the Confederacy a league of Six 

Nations. In the same year the inhabitants of 
New York were greatly disturbed by appre- 
hensions of an impending servile insurrection 
there. The population of the city was then 
about six thousand, a large proportion of 
which were negro slaves. 

At that time there was a brisk slave-trade 
carried on at New York, Newport, and Bos- 
ton, for since the revolution (1688) this trade 
had been thrown open.* The slaves in New 
York were held in the most abject bondage, 
and the masters were forbidden by law to set 
them free. In 1709 a slave-market was established at the foot of Wall 
Street, where they were sold and hired. A slave caught out at night 

* The Stuarl kings of England liad chartered slave-dealing companies, and Charles 
II. and his brother, the Duke of York, were shareholders in them. In 1713 an 
English company obtained the privilege of supplying the Spanish colonies in America 
with African slaves for thirty years, stipulating to deliver one himdred and forty-four 
thousand negro slaves within that period. One quarter of the stock of the company was 



without a lantern and a lighted candle in it was put in jail and his master 
was fined ; and the authorities pledged themselves that the prisoner 
should receive thirty-nine lashes at the whipping-post if the master 
desired it. Other punishments for offences were sometimes very cruel. 
Human nature revolted, but chiefly under a mask. From time to time 
the slaves made some resistance. In one case they murdered a white 
family in revenge. 

" Conscience makes cowards of us all." A rumor spread that a plot 
of the negroes to murder the white people and burn the city had been 
discovered. A sense of impending peril filled the town with terror. A 
riot that occurred at that moment, during which a house was burnt 
and several white people were killed, intensified the alarm. The 
magistrates acted promptly. The jail and other strong places were 
immediately filled with suspected slaves. Almost without evidence 
nineteen suspects were found guilty of conspiracy, and were summarily 
hanged or burnt alive. A similar scene occurred thirty years after- 

Hunter's administration was marked by frequent and violent contests 
between the chief magistrate and the Assembly, the latter boldly assert- 
ing that they possessed an inherent right to legislate, not from any com- 
mission or grant from the crown, but from the free choice and election 
of the people, who ought not, nor justly could be divested of their prop- 
erty, by taxation or otherwise, without their consent." The governor 
could not assent to this republican doctrine, and the Assembly would not 
recede a line. 

Hunter loved ease and quiet. These disputations wearied him. At 
one time he wrote : " I have spent three years in such torture and vex- 
ation that nothing in life can make amends for it." In 1719 failing 
health compelled him to return to England, when he left the govern- 
ment of the province in the hands of Colonel Peter Schuyler, the senior 
member of his Council. 

William Burnet* succeeded Hunter as Governor of ^ew York, and 

taken bj' King Philip V. of Spain, and Queen Anne of England reserved for hereelf 
another quarter. 

* William Burnet, a son of the eminent Bishop Burnet, was born at the Hague in 
1688, and had William the Prince of Orange (afterward William HI. of England) for his 
godfather. He had been engaged in public office in London when he was apix)intefl 
Governor of New York and New Jersey. He reached New York in September, 1730. 
His administration was popular. On the accession of George H. he was transferred to 
the government of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in 1728. He is represented an 
majestic in stature, frank in manner, witty and brilliant in conversation. He was also 
a clever writer. Governor Burnet died in Boston in September, 1729. 




'y ^ 



'j- — iftlierited his political discomforts ; but he soon found a cure for tliem in 
liis own disposition and the exercise of common sense. His administra- 
tion of about eight years (1720-28) was generally serene and more bene- 
ficial to the province than any which had preceded it. Indeed, it was 
more quiet than any which succeeded it in the colonial period. Toward 
the last he incurred the enmity of a powerful body of merchants who 
controlled the Assembly, and his position was made so uncomfortable 
that he was transferred to the gov- 
ernment of Massachusetts at his .^e,.^!^^^-^'^^-^ 
own request. 

Governor Buniet was a scholar, 
but not a recluse, and soon became 
very popular. He " was gay and 
condescending," affected no pomp, 
but visited every family of repu- 
tation, and often diverted himself 
in free converse with the ladies, 
by whom he was much admired. 
He made few changes among 
public officers. He called Dr. 
Cadwallader Golden and James 
Alexander to the Council Board. 
They were both men of learning 
and sterling worth. Golden was 
a philosopher, and was specially 
familiar with the affairs of the 

colony and with matters pertaining to the Indians, and the latter was 
an able lawyer and man of business. The governor s most trusted con- 
fidant was Ghief -Justice Lewis Morris, 

The Assembly, in response to the governor's first message to them, 
returned a most cordial address, and voted him a five years' support. 
Everything was done to promote harmony and good feeling. Such con- 
fidence did the governor repose in the integrity, wisdom, and patriotism 
of the Assembly that he did not dissolve them, but continued them on, 
session after session, until jealousy was excited by the self-interest of 
certain merchants. 

Since the treaty of Utrecht in 1Y13 a large and increasing trade had 
been carried on between merchants in New York and Albany and the 
French in Ganada, in goods salable among tiie Indians, The Iroquois, 
who were thus compelled to buy most of these goods from the French, 
as "middle men," at a high price, complained to the commissioners of 

■1' '1 




Vl ^\ 



1 '} 




Indian Affairs,* because the trade was injurious to them.. "Wise men 
in and out of the Assembly perceived the danger that might ensue to the 
friendship between the Five Nations and the Enghsh by this continual 

trade intercourse with tlie French, for the 
Jesuit missionaries were now more active 
than ever in their endeavors to alienate 
the Iroquois from the English and to win 
them to the French interest. A law was 
finally passed prohibiting this inter-colonial 
traffic. The governor also perceived the 
necessity of acquiring control of Lake On- 
tario for the benefit of trade and the security 
of the friendsliip of the Six Nations, so 
as to frustrate the designs of the French. 
Accordingly, in 1722, with the sanction of 
the Assembly, he caused a trading-house to 
be erected at Oswego, at the mouth of the 
Onondaga River, These measures at once created a strong opposition 
to the provincial government among the merchants engaged in the inter- 
colonial trade, and excited the indignation and alarm of the French 
in Canada, for they saw that their trade and their dominion were both 
in peril. The latter immediately proceeded to erect a strong store- 
house at the mouth of the Niagara River, and to repair the fort there. 
Unable to prevent this work, the governor caused a fort to be built at 
Oswego, at liis own private expense, for the protection of the trading 
post and trade there. The French were incensed and made threats, but 
prudently curbed their wrath. 

This state of things disturbed the political tranquillity of the province. 
Party spirit grew apace, and there finally arose such a clamor against the 
" permanent" and " unconstitutional " Assembly that the governor dis- 
solved them. There was great excitement at the ensuing election, and 
when the new Assembly met, in the spring of 1727, the majority of the 

* Tlie commissioners of Indian Affairs resided at Albany, They served as such 
Avitliout salaries, but the advantages as traders which their ix)sition gave them was 
ample compensation. For many years William Johnson (made Sir William in 1755) was 
the sole Commissioner of Indian Affairs and became very wealtlu% especially in land. 
It was the business of the commissioners to maintain the friendship of the Iroquois. They 
received and distributed the moneys and presents provided for that pui-pose. A secretary 
was paid for keeping a record of these transactions. At the breaking out of the 
Revolution, power wielded by Sir William Johnson alone passeii again into the hands of 
a committee. 



members were ill-aiiected toward the chief magistrate. His removal 
seemed necessary to insure tlie public tranquillity, and on April 15th, 
1728, Governor Burnet surrendered into the hands of John Montgomery 
(or Montgomerie), his appointed successor, the great seal of the province.* 
Montgomery was a Scotchman. He was bred a soldier, and had held 
a place at court and also a seat in Parliament. He was much inferior to 
his predecessor in abilities, and made no pretensions to scholarship. 
Loving his ease, he allowed public affairs to flow on placidly, and during 
the three years of his administration nothing of special public importance 

(From a print iu Smith's " History of New York.") 

occurred in the colony excepting the repeal of the law (1729) prohibiting 
the trade with the Canadians. This repeal was effected through the 
influence of the interested merchants. This trade worked mischief. 

Governor Montgomery died on July 1st,' 1731, when the chief com- 
mand of the province devolved on Rip Van Dam, the senior member of 
the Council and an eminent and ■wealthy merchant. Van Dam filled the 
office well until August 1st, 1732, when AYilliam Cosby arrived bearing 
a commission as governor of the province of New York. 

Just before the death of Montgomery a settlement of the long-con- 
tinued controversy about the boundary-line between New York and Con- 

* The provincial seal of New York was changed (as in other provinces) on the acces- 
sion of successive monarchs. There were two great .seals of New York made during the 
reign of Queen Anne, on which appeared an effigy of a queen and Indians making pres- 
ents, similar to the device on the seal on page 109. The seals of the three Georges each 
bore the effigy of a king, with Indians making presents, but modified in design. The 
reverse of each seal was similar. 




necticut was definitely settled. The partition-line agreed upon in 1664: 
being considered fraudulent, attempts were afterward made to effect a 

settlement of the question in a 
manner mutually satisfactory, but 
this was not accomplished until 
Ma}', 1731. In 1725 a partition- 
line was agreed upon by the 
commissioners of both colonies, 
but it was not entirely satis- 
factory ; now a tract of sixty 
thousand acres, lying on the 
Connecticut side of the line, and 
from its figure called the Ob- 
long, was ceded to New York, 
and an equivalent in terri- 
tory near liOng Island Sound 
was surrendered to Connecticut. 
Hence the divergence from a 
straight line north and south seen 
in the southern boundary between 
New York and Connecticut. 
The Oblong is nearly two miles wide. Through its centre a line was 
drawn, and the whole tract was divided into lots of five hundred acres 
each, on both sides, and sold to emigrants, who came chiefly from New 
England. Governor Cosby was avaricious, unscrupulous, and arbitrary. 
He had been a colonel in the British army, and came to New York 
intent upon making a fortune. He could not comprehend' tlie liberal 
spirit that prevailed in the colony, and he played the part of a petty 
military tyrant in the most ridiculotis manner. As English officials were 
M'ont to do at that time, he looked with contempt upon all provincials, 
treated them accordingly, and soon became one of tlie most obnoxious 
governors which had aflflicted the colony. 

Cosby came in conflict with Tan Dam at the outset. He brought 
with him a royal order for an equal division between himself and the 
president of the Council of " the salary, emoluments, and perquisites" 
of the office of governor during the thirteen months the merchant had 
exercised its functions. Cosby demanded half the salary which the 
merchant had received ; Van Dam claimed one half the perquisites, etc., 
according to the order, Cosby refused, and brought a suit against Van 
Dam in the Court of Chancery, over which the governor presided ex- 
ojfflcio. Van Dam tried to bring a counter-suit at common law, but 




failed. Cosby 's judges, James De Laucey and Adolpli Pliilipse, were 
the governor's personal friends and willing instruments. Lewis Morris, 
the able chief -justice of the province for twenty years, denied the 
jurisdiction of the court ; but the trial went on, 
and, of course, was decided in favor of the gov- 
ernor. Morris published his Opinion, and was 
punished by the governor by dismissal from the 
high oflice of chief -justice, and filling it by the 
appointment of De Lancey without even the 
formality of consulting his council. 

The sympathies of the people were with Yan 
Dam, and these high-handed proceedings pro- 
voked intense public indignation. They led to 
the establishment of a democratic newspaper and 
a trial in which popular liberty and the freedom 
of the press were vindicated. This famous trial 
was the most conspicuous event of the adminis- 
tration of Governor Cosby. 

William Bradford issued the first newspaper printed in the province 
of New York, in October, 1725, called the New York Gazette. He 
was the Government printer, and his Gazette was controlled by Cosby 
and his political friends. Bradford had, first as an apprentice and after- 
ward as a business partner for a short time, the son of a widow among 
the Palatines who came with Governor Hunter, John Peter Zenger. 






The opponents of Cosby induced Zenger to establish a newspaper that 
might be an organ of the democratic party — a tribune of the people. It 
was first issued in November, 1733, and was named the New York 
Weekly Journal. Yan Dam stood at the back of Zenger financially. 

The Journal made vigorous warfare upon the governor and his oflicial 
friends, as well as upon public measures. It kept up a continuous 
fusillade of squibs, lampoons, and satires ; and it finally charged the 
governor and his council with violating the rights of the people, the 
illegal assumption of power, and the perversion of their official stations 



for selfish purposes. The Assembly, which was a " permaneiit" one 
and very obsequious, received its share of animadversion.* 

These attacks were endured by the officials for about a year, when, in 
tlie autumn of 1734, the governor and council ordered certain copies of 
Zenger's paper to be publicly burnt by the 
common hangman. Then they caused the arrest 
of the publisher, and he was cast into prison on 
a charge of libelling the government. The 
Grand Jury refused to find a bill of indictment 
for this offence, but he was lield by another 
process — information. James Alexander and 
AVilliam Smith, the eminent lawyers, became 
his counsel. Unable to give bail, he was kept 
in jail until early in the next August, wdien he 
was brought to trial in the City Hall, Kew York. 
The case excited intense interest throughout the 
wliole country, for it involved the great subject 
of liberty of speech and of the press. 
" Meanwhile an association called the Sons of Liberty had worked 
diligently for Zenger. The venerable Andrew Hamilton, of Phila- 
delphia, then eighty years of age and the foremost lawyer in the country, 
was engaged as the prisoner's counsel. On the hot morning when the 
trial began the court-room was densely crowded. Chief-Justice De 
Lancey presided. A jury was impanelled. The prisoner pleaded ' Not 
guilty,' but boldly admitted the publication of the alleged libel, and 
offered full proof of its justification. The attorney -general (Bradley) 
had just risen to oppose the introduction of such proof, when the vener- 


* Illustrative of the obsequious deference which was then paid in the colonies even to 
an insignificant scion of nobility, a contemporary writer relates that when the young 
Lord Augustus Fitzroy, son of the Duke of Grafton, a favorite of the king, arrived in 
New York, in the fall of 1732, on a visit to the governor (and who was induced to marry 
his daughter), the corporation of the city waited upon the yoiuig man " in a full body, 
and the recorder addressed his lordship in a speech of congratulation, returning him 
thanks for the honor of his presence, and presented him the Fi"eedom of the City in a 
gold box." 

Smith, the liistorian, speaking of the marriage of the young lord to Cosby's daughter, 
says : " The match was clandestinely brought about by the intrigues of Mrs. Cosby, Lord 
Augustus being then on his travels through the provinces ; and to blind his relations and 
secure the governor from the wrath of his father, a mock persecution was instituted 
against C/ampbell, the parson, who had scaled the wall of the fort and solemnized the 
imptials without a written license from the governor or any publication of the banns." 
The duke refused to acknowledge the wife of his sou, and the ambition of her parents 
was wofully disappointed. 



able Hamilton unexpectedly entered the room, liis long white hair flowing 
over his shoulders instead of being made into a queue, in the fashion 
of the day. Tlie excited audience, most of them in sympathy with the 
prisoner, arose to tlieir feet, and in spite of the voice and frowns of the 
chief -justice, waved their hats and shouted loud huzzas. When silence 
prevailed the attorney-general took the ground that facts in justifica- 
tion of an alleged libel were not admissible in evidence. The court 
sustained him.^ 

" "When Hamilton arose a murmnr of applause ran through the crowd. 
In a few eloquent sentences lie 
scattered to the winds the soph- 
istries which supported the per- 
nicious doctrine, ' the greater the 
truth the greater the libel. ' He 
declared that the jury were 
themselves judges of the facts 
and the law, and that they were 
competent to judge of the guilt 
or innocence of the accused. He 
reminded them that they were 
the sworn protectors of the 
rights, liberties, and privileges 
of their fellow-citizens, which, 
in this instance, had been violated 
by a most outrageous and vindic- 
tive series of persecutions. He 
conjured them to remember that 

it was for them to interpose between the tyrannical and arbitrary violators 
of the law and their intended victim, and to assert, by their verdict, in 
the fullest manner the freedom of speech and of the press, and of the 
supremacy of the people over their wanton and powerful oppressors. 


* Mr. De Lancey exercised much arbitrary power, and was always impatient of any 
opposition. One illustrative instance may suffice. James Alexander and William Smith 
were leading lawyers in the province. As counsel for Zenger, they interposed exceptions 
to the indictment of their client on information at the spring term. They also ques- 
tioned the validity of the commission of the chief- justice. They made a motion that these 
exceptions should be filed. De Lancey refused to receive the exceptions. " You thought 
to have gained a great deal of applause and popularity by opposing this court," he said ; 
" but you have brought it to this point, that either we must go from the Bench or you 
must go from the Bar." He then issued an order excluding them from any further 
practice in that court. This dissolving Zeuger's counsel caused his friends to seek the 
services of Andrew Hamilton. 



" Notwithstanding the charge of the cliief- justice was wlioUy adverse 
to the doctrines of tlie great advocate, the jury, after brief deliberation, 


returned a verdict of ' Not guilty. ' Then a shout of triumph went up 
from the iiinltitude, and Hamilton was borne out of the court-room upon 


the shoulders of the people to a grand entertainment which had been 
prepared for him. On the following day a public dinner was given him 
by the citizens. At the close of September following, the corporation of 
the city of New York presented to Mr. Hamilton the Freedom of the 
City and their thanks in a gold box weighing five and a half ounces, 
made for the occasion. In this document they cordially thanked him 
for his ' learned and generous defence of the rights of mankind and the 
liberties of the press,' and for his signal service which 'he cheerfully 
undertook, under great indisposition of body, and generously performed, 
refusing fee or reward.' 

" This triumph of the popular cause, this vindication of tlie freedom 
of the press, this evidence of a determination of the people to protect 
their champions, and this success of an organization in its infancy, which 
appeared in power thirty years later under the same name — ' Sons of 
Liberty ' — was a sure prophecy of that political independence of the 
colonies which was speedily fulfilled. Yet the stupid governor, stag- 
gered by the blow, could not understand the meaning of the prophecy, 
and only his death, a few months after this trial, put an end to his vin- 
dictive proceedings." * 

Governor Cosby died on March 10th, 1730. 

* Lossing's Our Country, I. , 368-70. Gouverneur Morris, it is reported, said : 
" Instead of dating American liberty from the Stamp Act, I trace it to the persecution of 
Peter Zenger, because that event revealed the philosophy of freedom both of thought 
and speech as an inborn human right, so nobly set forth in Milton's Treatise on Un- 
licensed Printing. ' ' 



From the arrival of Governor Cosby, in 1Y32, to the beginning of the 
Seven Years' War between France and England (1Y55-62), which is 
known in America as the " French and Indian War," the history of the 
province of New York is little mofe than a record of the operations of a 
violent party spirit engendered by selfish men struggling for power. 
Let us turn for a moment from this unpleasant subject to take a brief 
glance, through the optics of contemporary writers, at the character of 
society in the city and province of New York at that period. 

The population of the province at the time we are considering did not 
exceed one hundred thousand. There were many discouragements to 
settlements. Tlie dread of hostile incursions by the French and Indians 
on the north ; the transportation hither from Great Britain of ship-loads 
of felons ; the oppressive nature of navigation laws ; the avarice, bigotry, 
and tyranny of some of the governors who had been sent to rule the 
province, and the lavish grants of much of the best land in the colony to 
their favorites and instruments, were special hindrances to a rapid increase 
of population. The holders of large estates rated their lands so high 
that poorer persons could neither buy nor lease farms. Tlie price of 
labor was so enormously high, because of the sparse population, that the 
importation of negroes had become a prime industrial necessity, and they 
were then very numerous in the province. The Dutch language was yet 
so generally used in some of the counties that sheriffs found it difficult 
to procure persons sufliciently acquainted with the English tongue to 
servTB as jurors in the courts. The manners of the people were simple 
and various according to locality and condition. The prevalence of the 
Dutch, the German, the English, and the French (Huguenots) in certain 
places modified manners. 

In the city of New York, where there was constant intercourse with 
Europe, particularly with Great Britain, the London fashions, much 
modified however, were followed ; yet theise were sometimes disused in 
England by the time they were adopted here. Among the wealthier 
classes considerable luxury in table, dress, and furniture was exhibited, 
yet the people were not so gay as in Boston, where society was almost 
purely English, and presented greater cultivation. In New York wealth 



was more equally distributed. There was an aspect of comfort tlirougli- 
out society. 

New York City was more social in its character than any other place 
on the continent. It now had a mixed population, sturdy in individual 
character and cosmopolitan in feeling. Society presented an almost 
even surface of equality and independence. It consisted chiefly of mer- 
chants, shop-keepers, and tradesmen. Their recreations were simple. 


The men enjoyed themselves at a weekly evening clab, and the women 
frequented musical concerts and dancing assemblies M'ith their husbands 
and brothers. The women were generally comely in person, dressed 
with taste, were notable housekeepers, managed their households with 
neatness and thrift, and made happy homes. They seldom or never 
engaged in gaming, as was the habit of fashionable women in England 
at that time. 

Both sexes were very neglectful -of intellectual cultivation. They read 



■very little. The schools were of a low order. " The instructore want 
instruction," wrote a contemporary. " Through long and shameful 
neglect of all the arts and sciences, our common speech is extremely 
corrupt, and the evidences of a bad taste, both as to thought and lan- 
guage, are visible in all our proceedings, private and public." Virtue 
was predominant. The women were modest, sprightly, and good- 
humored ; and there was diffused throughout society an uncommon 




degree of domestic felicity, both in the city and province. The mer- 
chants and traders had a high reputation for honesty and fair-dealing, 
and the people everywhere, in town and country, were sober, industrious, 
and hospitable, yet eagerly intent upon gain. 

The people were generally religioTis. The principal church organiza- 
tions were the Dutch Reformed, the Lutheran, the English Episcopal, 
and the Presbyterian. There was much latitudinarianism, much freedom 


of thought and action among the people, that fostered a spirit of inde- 
pendence. They were not bound hand and foot by rigid religious and 
political creeds, as were the people of New England, but were thor- 
oughly imbued with the toleration inherited from the first Dutch settlers, 
and theological disputes were seldom indulged in. 

New York society possessed the elements of "a, noble State. These 
elements entered into the political and social structure of the common- 
wealth after the Declaration of Independence with the grand result now 
manifested to the world.* 

On the death of Governor Cosby, Rip Van Dam, the senior councillor, 
again prejDared to assume the functions of governor. When he called 
for the seals of office, etc., he was informed that Cosby had suspended 
him from the Council Board several months before. This had been 

* Mrs. Grant, of Laggan, in her Memoirs of an American Lady, has left us some 
charming pictures of social life at Albany, where the population was chiefly of Dutch 
descent, and the habits of the people were more simple than at New York. She tarried 
among them awhile at the time we are considering. She says the houses were very neat 
within and without, and were built chiefly of stone or brick. The streets were broad and 
lined with shade trees. Each house had its garden, and before each door a tree was 
planted and shaded the " stoops" or porches, which were furnished with spacious seats 
on which domestic groups were seated on summer evenings. Each family had a cow, 
fed in a common pasture at the end of the town. At evening the herd returned alto- 
gether of their own accord, with their tinkling bells hung at their necks, along the 
wide and grassy street, to their wonted sheltering trees, to be milked at their masters' 

On pleasant evenings the " stoops" were filled with groups of old and young of both 
sexes discussing grave questions or gayly chatting and singing together. The mischiev- 
ous gossip was unknown, for intercourse was so free and friendship so real that there 
was no place for such a creature ; and politicians seldom disturbed these social gather- 
ings. A peculiar social custom arranged the young people in congenial companies, com- 
posed of an equal number of both sexes, quite small children being admitted, and the 
association continued until maturity. The result was a perfect knowledge of each other, 
and happy and suitable marriages prevailed. 

The summer amusements of the young were simple, the principal one being what we 
caW picnics, often held upon the pretty islands near Albany, or in " the bush." These 
were days of pure enjoyment, for everybody was unrestrained by conventionalities. In 
winter the frozen bosom of the Hudson would be alive with merry skaters of both sexes. 
Small evening parties were frequent, and were generally the sequel of quilting parties. 
The young men sometimes enjoyed convivial parties at taverns, but habitual drunkenness 
was extremely rare. 

African slavery was seen at Albany and vicinity in its mildest form. It was softened 
by gentleness and mutual attachments. It appeared patriarchal, and a real blessing to 
the negroes. Master and slave stood in the relation of friends. Immoralities were rare. 
There was no hatred engendered by neglect, cruelty, or injustice ; and such excitements 
as the " Negro Plots" of 1713 and 1741 in New York City were impossible. Industry 
and frugality ranked amdng the cardinal virtues of the people. 




done secretly, tliat George Clarke, an English adventurer and one of 
Cosby's tools, might become president of the Council. Clarke, as such, 
now assumed the office of lieutenant-governor. Yan Dam would not 
yield, and the " rival governors" proceeded to act independently of each 
other. This state of things involved the Assembly and the corporation 
of New York City in fierce contentions, and the public excitement 
became so intense that open insurrection was threatened. It was finally 
allayed by the confinnation of Clarke's claim by the home government. 
His administration was marked by continual contests with the Assembly. 
It terminated in September, 1743, by the arrival of Sir George Clinton 
as governor of the province,* a younger son of the Earl of Lincoln and 

the father of Sir Henry Clin- 
ton, the commander-in-chief 
of the British forces in Amer- 
ica during a portion of the old 
war for independence. 

The most conspicuous event 
of Clarke's administration was 
that known as the " Negro 
Plot," in 1741. Causes sinn'- 
lar to those which made the 
inhabitants of the city dread 
a servile insurrection in 1712 
(see page 138) excited them 
at this time. As before, the 
tongue of rumor sounded an 
alarm which produced a panic. 
A bold robbery, almost si- 
multaneous fires in different 
parts of the city (though in 
the day-time), idle words spoken by negroes, and the grumbling of some 
black people who had been brought into the port in a Spanish prize-ship 
and sold into slavery, combined in suggesting to the excited minds of the 







* Sir George Clarke was a prominent man in New York for nearly half a century. He 
was a native of England, was a lawyer, married Miss Hyde, a relative of Governor 
Cornbury, and was appointed secretary of the province of New York in 1703. He was 
a shrewd, thrifty man, and left America with a large fortune, like that of Cosbj' mysteri- 
ously gathered. He sailed for England in 1745. On his pttssage he was captured by a 
French cruiser, but was soon released, when the British Government indemnified him 
for his Retiring to a handsome estate near Cheshire, he died there at an advanced 
age in 1760. His wife, a woman of fine accomplishments, died in New York. 


people suspicions of a conspiracy, and creating a fearful panic. Tlio 
people were deaf to reason. Tlie magistrates and lawyers " lost their 
heads," and by their acts increased the public alarm. 

False accusers charged negroes with incendiarism, robbery, and con- 
spiracy to bum the city and murder the white people. Yery soon the 
jail and apartments in the City Hall were crowded with the accused. 
The keeper of a low tavern and brothel (John Ilughson), his wife, and a 
strumpet who lived with them were accused by an indented servant girl 
of sixteen (Mary Burton) of complicity, with negroes named, in the 
robbery and in a conspiracy to burn the town and destroy the inhabitants. 
She had been tempted by fear and selfishness, by threats, and by prom- 
ises of money and freedom from her master (Ilughson) to " tell all she 
knew" — in other words, to make false accusations and to bear false testi- 
mony. Slie declared that her master and mistress received and concealed 
the stolen property from negroes whom she named, conferred with some 
of the slaves about burning the city and killing the inhabitants, and that 
her master threatened to poison her if she exposed him ; while the 
negroes swore they would burn her alive if she revealed their secret. 
She said her master and mistress and the bawd whom they harbored were 
the only white persons present at the plotting with the negroes. The 
excited and credulous magistrates received this absurd story and others 
uttered by the lying servant girl as truth. 

Without the semblance of justice or of common sense, and moved by 
the unsupported assertions of Mary Burton, the magistrates committed 
persons to the jail. The excited lawyers perplexed and terrified the poor 
prisoners, and the half-dazed jurors found the tavern-keeper, his wife, 
and their wretched boarder guilty. They were hanged. Eighteen 
negroes were also hung in a green vale, the site of the modern Five 
Points ; eleven were burned alive, and fifty were sold into slavery in the 
West Indies. Three of the colored people were burnt on the site of the 
(present) City Hall, one of whom was a woman. All who suffered at 
that time were undoubtedly innocent victims of groundless fright created 
by imaginary danger. This " reign of terror" continued about six 
months, when a day was set aj)art for public thanksgiving for the " great 

The "Negro Plot" may be classed among the conspicuous delusions 
of modern times. It is a counterpart in wickedness and absurdity to the 
" Salem Witchcraft" delusion in the preceding century. 

There was another and a peculiar sufferer at this time — a victim of 
false accusations, perjury, and bigotry. His name was John Ury, his 
j>rofession a schoolmaster and a nonjuring minister of the Church of 



England. lie was cliarged with being a Jesuit priest in disguise, and 
was accused of inciting tlie negroes to burn the governor's l)ouse, which 
was the first of the almost simultaneous fires already alluded to. The 
only witnesses against him were the jjerjured Mary Burton and a 
daughter of the tavern-keeper just hanged. The latter was brought from 
a felon's cell and pardoned on the condition that she should give certain 
testimony against the accused. She swore that Ury liad counselled 
negroes to burn the governor's house (which the governor himself 
declared had been accidentally set on fire through the carelessness of 
a plumber while soldering a tin gutter) ; that he had practised the rites of 
the Roman Catholic Church among the negroes in her presence at her 
father's house, and that he received confessions, etc. 

Competent testimony of respectable citizens to the contrary — that he 
was a schoolmaster and a clergyman of the Church of England — was 

clearly given, but 
was not heeded. The 
charge of the chief- 
justice (De Lancey) 
and the speech of 
tlie attorney -general 
(Bradley) were large- 
ly mere tirades 
against popery and 
warnings against its secret emissaries. The mis- 
led jury were easily persuaded to pronounce 
poor Ury guilty, and the bigoted court, taking 
advantage of an unrepealed statute against 
priests, sentenced him to be lianged. Ury 
protested his innocence to the last moment. 
The chief instrument in bringing this evi- 
dently innocent man to tlie scaffold was the 
disgraceful statute which condenmed to death 
every Roman Catholic priest who should 
voluntarily come into the province. (See 
p. 126.) 
In the whole of the wretched business of the "Negro Plot" not a 
single charge of conspiracy was proven by a competent witness. 
■ Sir George Clinton* published liis commission as Governor of New 


* Sir George Clinton was tlie youngest son of the sixth Earl of Lincoln, and rose to 
distinction in the British navy. He was commissioned a commodore, and made Governor 


York on the day of Lis arrival, September 20th, 1743. He held the 
office ten years. Clinton was wholly unfitted by his training and dispo- 
sition for the chief magistracy of a people like those of New York — 
sturdy, independent, and courageous ; free-thinkers in politics and irre- 
pressible aspirants for self-government. 

After a peace between France and Great Britain for more than thirty' 
years, during which time the American colonists enjoyed comparative 
repose, war was again kindled. It was declared in March, 1744. The 
colonists i3romptly rose in their might and donned their armor. The 
struggle that ensued continued about four years, and is known in Ameri- 
can history as King George s War, because George II. of England 
espoused the cause of tlie Empress of Austria, the celebrated Maria 
Theresa. In Europe it was known as the ^Var of the Austrian Succes- 

This war was not distinguished by many stirring events in America. 
The most important was the capture of Louisburg and its strong for- 
tress, on the island of Cape Breton, wliich the French had constructed 
after the treaty of Utrecht at a cost of $5,500,000. "William Shirley,* 
a good soldier and energetic statesman, was then Governor of Massa- 
chusetts. He perceived the importance of Louisburg in the coming 
contest, and plans for its capture were soon perfected by the Legislature 
of Massachusetts. He asked England for aid in the enterprise, and Ad- 
nn'ral Warren was ordered to Boston from the West Indies with a fleet 
and troops. Rhode Island, Kew Hampshire, and Connecticut furnished 
their proper quota of men. New York sent artillery, and Pennsylvania 
sent provisions. Thus common danger was teaching the necessity for a 

of Newfoundland in 1732. In 1743 he was appointed Governor of New York, and had 
a tumultuous administration for ten years. He was unlettered, and of irritable tem- 
perament. In all his controversies with the New York Assembl}" he was ably assisted 
by the mind and pen of Dr. Cadwallader Golden. His chief opponent was Daniel Hors- 
mandeu, at one time chief- justice of the colony. He quan-elled witli all the political 
factions in the colony, and returned home in 1753, when he was given the sinecure of 
Governor of Greenwich Hospital. In 1745 he was appointed vice-admiral of the Red, 
and in 1757 admiral of the Fleet. Again Governor of Newfoundland, he died there in 

* William Shirley was born in Sussex, England, in 1698, and died at Roxbury, Mass., 
in 1771. He came to Boston in 1734, and practised the profession of a lawyer there. 
Active in public affairs, he was appointed Governor of Massachusetts in 1741, and 
became a skilful military leader in the French and Indian War. He was also a skilful 
diplomatist. For a while he was commander-in-chief of the British forces in America. 
In 1759 he was commissioned lieutenant-general and governor of one of the Bahama 
Islands, but returned to Boston in 1770. He built a fine mansion at Roxbury, but never 
occupied it. 


political Tinion of the English American colonies fully thirty years before 
such union was effected. 

The colonial forces, commanded by General William Pepperell,* 
thirty-two hundred strong, sailed from Boston in the spring of 1745, and 
were joined by Warren at Canseau with ships and troops. The com- 
bined forces, four thousand in number, landed not far from Louisburg at 
the close of Ajjril, took the French by surprise, and speedily began a 
vigorous siege of the strong fortress. Finally a combined attack by sea 
and land, at the close of June, compelled the French to surrender the 
fortress, the city of Louisburg, and the island of Cape Breton to the 
English. The mortified French ministry sent the Duke d'Anville the 
next year with a powerful naval armament to recover what had been 
lost, and to desolate the English settlements along the New England 
coasts. Storms wrecked many of his vessels, and disease soon wasted 
hundreds of his men. The duke was compelled to abandon the enter- 
prise without striking a blow. The !New England people regarded these 
misfortunes of the enemy as a providential interference in their favor. 

Meanwhile New York had been vigilant and active. Its immense 
frontier on the north exposed it to easy inroads of the common enemy. 
The Iroquois formed a trustworthy but not an omnipotent defence. The 
garrisons at Albany, Schenectady, and Oswego were strengthened, and 
the erection of block-houses was begun on the upper Hudson. 

Notwithstanding these precautions five hundred French Canadians and 
Huron Indians and a few disaffected Iroquois warriors swept down the 
upper valley of the Hudson late in the fall of 1745, as far as Saratoga, leav- 
ing there a horrible record, and spreading the wildest alarm among the 
frontier settlements far and near. The invaders were commanded by 
M. Marin, an active French officer. They had rendezvoused at Crown 
Point, on Lake Champlain, where, at the suggestion of Father Piquet, 
the French Prefect Apostolique to Canada, it was resolved to sweep 
down toward Albany and cut off the advancing English settlements. 

Saratoga was a scattered village on the flats at the junction of the Fish 
Creek and the Hudson Kiver, near (present) Schuylerville. It com- 

* William Pepperell was born in Maine in 1696, and died there in 1759. His father 
was a Welshman, and was made an apprentice to a fisherman when he came to New 
England. His son became a merchant. Liking military life, he was frequently engaged 
in fighting Indians. In 1727 he was appointed one of the king's Council, in Massacliu- 
setts, and held the office thirty-two consecutive years. He l)ocanie an eminent jurist, and 
was made chief- justice of the Common Pleas in 1730. After his successful cxix-dition 
against Louisburg he was knighted (1745), and was apiwinted colonel in the royal 
army ; then a major-general, and lieutenant-general iu 1759. For two years (1756-58) 
lie was Acting-Governor of Massachusetts. 


prised about thirty families, many of them tenants of Philip Schuyler, 
brother of the Mayor of Albany, and owner of all the lands in the vicinity. 
The invaders murdered Mr. Schuyler, plundered and burnt the village, 
and carried away over one hundred men, women, and children, including 
negroes, as captives. Mr. Schuyler's house, with his. body in it, was 
burned. On the following morning the invaders, after chanting the Te 
Deum, departed for Canada with their plunder and prisoners. 

The energetic Governor Shirley, flushed with the victory in the east, 
contemplated the conquest of the entire French dominions in America. 
His general plan of operations was similar to that of former expeditions 
for the capture of Quebec and Montreal. 

Governor Clinton favored the project, and the Assembly voted aid. 
The erection of block-houses on the northern frontiers was authorized, 
also a new emission of bills of credit. Bounties were raised for vol- 
unteers, and provision was made for supplies of all kinds. The Six 
N^ations were invited to meet the governor at a conference at Albany, 
at which appeared representatives of other colonies. The object of the 
conference was to engage the Iroquois to fight for the English in the 
conflict supposed to be impending. This conference was held in the 
summer of 17-16. 

William Johnson, a nephew of Admiral Warren, and then in the 
prime of young manhood, had been appointed Indian commissioner in 
place of Colonel Schuyler, who had long performed the duties of that 
office most efficiently. Johnson had made great efforts to arouse the 
Mohawks, among whom he lived, to make war on the French. At the 
time appointed for the conference he appeared on the hills overlooking 
Albany at the head of a large number of the Iroquois chiefs, habited and 
painted like the barbarians. Among these were leaders from the Dela- 
wares, the Susquehannas, the River Indians, and the Mohegans of Con- 
necticut, all eager to raise the hatchet against the French. The confer- 
ence was satisfactory. The Indians were dismissed Vith presents, and 
Johnson was furnished with arms and with instructions to send out 
war parties from the Mohawk Yalley to annoy their enemies on the 

The British ministry failed to send promised assistance to the colonies, 
and Shirley's grand project was abandoned. From this time no actual 
hostilities of importance occurred within the province of New York or 
on its frontiers in several years ; but the annals of New Hampshire, on 
its eastern border, for two years thereafter present a long and mournful 
catalogue of plantations laid waste and colonists slain or carried into cap- 
tivity by the French and Indians. The treaty of peace concluded at 







Aix-la-Chapelle, in October, 1748, ended hostilities between France 
and England and the American colonies for a time. 

During the whole administration of Governor Clinton rancorous party 
spirit cursed tlie province. He had passed a greater portion of his life 
in the royal navy, and had learned and practised its imperious ways. 
These ways were, of course, often offensive. He loved his ease and 

good cheer, was kind-liearted 
and good-humored, and tried 
to control the storms of pas- 
sion around him. Unfor- 
tunately, the surviving poli- 
ticians who had quarrelled 
throughout the administra- 
tions of Cosby and Clarke were as rancorous and active as ever. He 
tried to propitiate both parties, and failed, of course. The Assembly 
persistently refused to yield an iota of their rights and privileges, and 
their independence vexed and worried Clinton. 

Unfortunately for the governor and the province, Clinton made Chief- 
Justice De Lancey his conlidant and guide. De Lancey was a politician 
of exquisite mould, and then wielded almost 
absolute sway over the Assembly and the 
people. At length the governor and the 
chief-justice quarrelled over their cups at a 
banquet. The latter swore he would be re- 
venged ; and from that time Clinton found 
no peace in public life. De Lancey was im- 
placable. He pursued the governor as a 
personal and political enemy with the tenacity 
of a hound, and stirred up opposition to 
Clinton's authority and his measures every- 
where. Wielding power, the governor dealt 
some hard blows in return.* 

An open rupture between the governor and the Assembly occurred in 
1749. Under instructions from the king, Clinton demanded from the 


* James De Lancey was born in New York City in 1703, and died there, 1760. He 
was educated in England, studied law there, and soon after liis return (1729) was made a 
justice of the Supreme Court of the province. He became chief -justice in 1733. He was 
lieutenant-governor and acting-governor of the province for several years, and was one 
of the mo,st influential men in the province in politics and legislation. Mr. De Lancey 
was one of the founders of King's (now Columbia) College. His wife was Anne, eldest 
daughter of Colonel Caleb Heathcote. 


Assembly the grant of a permanent rev^enue for five years, that he might 
be independent of the people. As in times past, the Assembly refused 
to grant it. The governor unwisely told them that their authority to 
act at all, and the political rights and privileges which they enjoyed 
depended upon the breath of the monarch whom he represented, and he 
threatened to punish them if they did not comply with his wishes. The 
Assembly boldly said in substance : 

" Your conduct is arbitrary, illegal, and in violation of our privileges, 
and we will not comply with your demands." 

In this quarrel, which continued until the end of Clinton's administra- 
tion, the unfortunate governor was placed in a delicate and even a false 
position. lie was bound to obey his instructions in making the demand, 
at the same time he felt that the attitude of the Assembly was essentially 
right, and he urged upon the home government the propriety of making 
concessions to the popular leaders. Strangely enough, at about this 
period the chief leaders of the aristocratic faction, led by the chief- justice, 
became the popular leaders opposed to the governor and the crown. 

Wearied, worried, and disgusted, Governor Clinton resigned his office 
in the summer of 1753, and on September Tth he gave into the hands of 
his successor. Sir Dan vers Osborne, the great seal of the province. 
Chief-Justice De Lancey had been appointed lieutenant-governor. 

Osborne's administration was exceedingly short. He was received 
w^itli demonstrations of joy by the people, and was magnificently enter- 
tained by the corporation of the city of !N"ew York. But he bore royal 
instructions more arbitrary and tyrannical than those which, attempted 
to be enforced, had made his predecessor odious to the people. He 
learned by conversation with those who feasted him that the course he 
was instructed to pursue would be highly displeasing to the people and 
render him odious in their estimation. 

Having been greatly depressed in spirits by the recent death of his 
wife, Sir Danvers was made more melancholy by the gloomy prospects 
before him — continual disputes with the representatives of the people, 
the sport of factions, and a tarnished reputation. He said to De Lancey 
in a plaintive voice : 

"What am I here for ? I shall soon leave you the government. I 
am unable to bear the burden." 

Brooding over his situation, his disturbed reason became unseated, and 
five days after his arrival his lifeless body was found, early on the morn- 
ing of the 12th, suspended by a pocket-handkerchief around his neck to 
the fence of the garden of Mr. Murray, one of the Council, whose 
hospitality he was enjoying. 


De Lancey again became acting Governor of New York. He was 
now placed in a delicate situation, but lie was equal to the occasion. He 
had recently been a leader of the opposition in the Assembly in his perse- 
cution of Clinton ; now he was compelled to wear the mask of Janus and 
rebuke the Assembly publicly for not obeying the royal instructions in 
granting supplies, while he secretly confederated in the promotion of 
measures directly opposed to the expressed will of the crown. The 
Assembly were equal dissemblers. They lauded De Lancey, boasted of 
their loyalty, and declared that nothing should be wanting to promote 
the king's service. At the same time they firmly resisted taxation with- 
out their consent. With well-dissembled zeal De Lancey joined the 
other royal governors in urging the British Government to put in action 
a scheme of general taxation in America. 

De Lancey remained the political head of the province two years, 
when Sir Charles Hardy, a captain in the British navy, ignorant of the 
country, the people, and the government he was to administer, arrived 
at New York (September, 1755) bearing the commission of governor.* 
De Lancey really continued to govern the province for about five years. 
Sir Charles was a plastic instrument in De Lancey's hands. 

The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was, practically, only a contract for a 
truce. The traditional enmity between France and England only 
slumbered. Tlie Jesuits, bearing the Cross and the Lily, had discovered 
the magnificent country around the great lakes and in the Mississippi 
Valley, and revealed its riches to the Frencli court. French missionary 
stations and trading-posts were established deep in the wilderness, but these 
did not attract the serious attention of the English until after the capture of 
Louisburg, when the French began the building of strong vessels at Fort 
Frontenac at the foot of Lake Ontario, and the erection of more than 
sixty forts between Montreal and the site of New Orleans. In 1753 the 
Governor of Canada sent twelve hundred French soldiers to occupy the 
Ohio Valley to the exclusion of the English. 

At the time we are considering the French in America were not over 
one hundred thousand in number, and were scattered in trading settle- 
ments for almost one thousand miles along the St. Lawrence River and 
our immense inland seas ; also at points on the Mississippi River and its 

* Sir Charles was a grandson of Sir Thomas Hardy, a distinguished naval commander 
in the reign of Queen Anne. • He was himself a naval commander. After leaving New 
York, he was appointed (1757) rear-admiral of the Blue, and commanded in the expedi- 
tion against Louisburg. He was promoted to* vice-admiral, and in 1764 was a member 
of Parliament. He became admii'al in 1770, and commanded a large squadron. Sir 
Charles died in England in 1780, aged about sixty-seven years. 


tributaries. The English numbered more than a million, and occupied 
a line of territory more than a thousand miles in extent along the 
Atlantic seaboard, in the form of agricultural conunumties. The French, 
through the influence of the Jesuit priests and kind treatment, had won 
the friendship of the barbarians around them. 

The French, on the English plea of discovery and priority of occupation, 
claimed jurisdiction over the region of the Ohio River and its tributaries. 
The King of England, on the same plea, claimed that region, and granted 
to a company of London merchants and Virginia speculators a tract of 
six hundred thousand acres of land there. This company began the 
establishment of trading-posts on this domain. The French regarded 
them as intruders. The Indians properly said : 

'* The English claim all the land on one side of the river, and the 
French claim all the land on the other side of the river, "Where is the 
Indian's land ?" Echo answered, "Where?" etc. The rightful claim 
of the first occupants of the soil was not considered by the voracious 
European robbers. 

Apprehending the loss of their trade and their dominion, the French 
built a fort on the southern shore of Lake Erie ; also others near the 
domain of the English company. The Governor of Virginia sent a 
remonstrance to the French commander in that region (St. Pierre). The 
bearer of the despatch was young George Washington, then less than 
twenty-two years of age. He made the perilous journey with two or 
three attendants. The Indians were hostile to the English, and the 
French were their traditional enemies ; but the dangerous journey was 
performed in safety, and the mission was executed with skill and judg- 
ment. Washington returned in January, 1754, with an unsatisfactory 
response to the message he had delivered, but with much valuable infor- 
mation. When wine was in and wit was out of the heads of the French 
officers at their commander's table, they had revealed many important 
secrets to their sober young visitor. 

Satisfied that tlie French in Canada were contemplating aggressive 
war upon the English colonies, the latter prepared to meet the blow. 
In the summer of 1754 twenty-five delegates, representing seven English- 
American colonies — New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Con- 
necticut, ^ew York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland — met in convention 
at Albany to renew treaties with the Six Nations and to consider the 
important subject of the formation of a colonial confederacy. Lieu- 
tenant-Governor De Lancey presided over the convention. The treaty 
was renewed, and in July Dr. Franklin, a delegate from Pennsylvania, 
presented to the convention a plan of union having many of the features 


of our national Constitution. It was adopted, and copies were sent; to 
the several colonial Assemblies and to the imperial Board of Trade for 

The hibtory of this plan is singular. The Assemblies refused their 
assent because it seemed too aristocratic — giving tlie governor to be 
appointed by the king too much power. The Board of Trade rejected 
it because it was too democratic — gave too much power to the people.* 

Meanwhile war had actually been begun near the upper waters of the 
Ohio River. The English Land Company had begun the erection of a 
fort on the site of (present) Pittsburg. The workmen were driven away 
by French soldiers, who finished the work and named it Fort Duquesne 
in honor of the Governor of Canada. The Governor of Virginia (Din- 
widdie) sent six hundred troops under ColonelJoshua Fry, with Washing- 
ton, commissioned a major, as his lieutenant, to expel the French. • The 
advanced corps under Major Washington, when al>out fifty miles from 
Fort Duquesne, was compelled to halt and construct a stockade (which 
was called Fort Necessity) and prepare for resisting a detachment of 
French troops which had been sent to intercept them. Before the fort 
was completed a party was sent out to attack the approaching foe. This 
was done at the ' dead of night. The commander of tlie French 
(Jumonville) was slain, and only fifteen of liis fifty men escaped. A 
larger French force soon invested Fort Necessity, and notwithstanding it 
had been re-onforced by troops from New York, Washington was com- 
pelled to surrender on the morning of July 4tli and return to A^irginia. 
So the French and Indian War was begun in the colonies about two 
years before tlie War of the Austrian Succession, of which it was a part, 
was proclaimed by France and Great Britain. 

The British Government, though it perceived that a conflict in. 
America was impending more serious than any which had yet occurred, 
gave a very small amount of aid to the English-American colonies. It 
contributed only $50,000 and a commission for Governor Sharpe, of 

* It proposed a general government to be administered by one chief magistrate 
appointed by the crown and a council of forty-eight members chosen by the several 
legislatures. This council, answering to our Senate, wjis to have power to declare war, levy 
troops, raise money, regulate trade, conclude peace, and do many other things necessary 
for the general good. The Board of Trade had proposed a plan which contained all the 
elements of a system for the utter enslavement and dependence of tlie Americans. They 
proposed a generid government composed of the governors of the several colonies and 
certain select members of the general councils. These were to have power to draw on 
the British Treasury for money to carry on the impending war, the sum to be reim- 
bursed by taxes imposed by Parliament on the colonists. The latter preferred to do 
their own fighting and levy their own taxes indejxindent of Great Britain. 


Maryland, as commander-in-chief of tlie colonial forces. Sharpe did not 
serve. Shirley put forth energetic efforts in Massachusetts ; New York 
voted $25,000 for military purposes, and Maryland voted $30,000 for 
the same purpose. 

The war that ensued forms an important part of the history of our 
Republic, but the plan and scope of this work precludes the possibility 
of giving an account of even important events, civil and military, which 
have occurred outside of the province and State of New York, excepting 
such connected with its history as may be necessary to elucidate our 

General Edward Braddock was sent to America early in 1755 as com- 
mander-in-chief of all the provincial forces. In April he met in confer- 
ence, at Alexandria, Ya., six colonial governors — namely, Shirley, of 
Massachusetts ; Dinwiddie, of Yirginia ; De Lancey, of New York ; 
Sharpe, of Maryland ; Morris, of Pennsylvania ; and Dobbs, of North 
Carolina. They planned three expeditions — one against Fort Duquesne, 
to be commanded by Braddock ; a second against Forts Niagara and 
Frontenac (Kingston, IT. C), to be commanded by Governor Shirley ; 
and a third against Crown Point, on Lake Champlain, to be led by 
William Johnson, the Indian commissioner. A fourth expedition had 
already been arranged by Governor Shirley, of Massachusetts, and Gov- 
ernor Lawrence, of Nova Scotia, for the purpose of driving the French 
Neutrals, or Acadians, out of the peninsula. It was led by General 
Winslow, of Boston. 

The expedition against the Acadians "was successful, but the cruel 
circumstances and the result of their expulsion justly places it among 
the great crimes of liistory. The expedition against Fort Duquesne was 
a disastrous failure. Braddock was defeated and mortally wounded in 
the battle of the Monongahela in July. Colonel "Washington was the 
only officer of his staff who remained unhurt, and he saved the remnant 
of the army from annihilation by conducting a masterly retreat. The 
expeditions of Shirley and Johnson within the State of New York will 
be noticed presently. 



WniLE politicians of the baser sort, in and out of tlie New York 
Assembly, were playing disreputable games in which the best interests 
of the commonwealth were more or less involved, the people at large, 
alarmed by the evidences that a war was a-kindling at their very doors, 
became clamorous for the adoption of measures of defence against their 
implacable foe. Heeding these clamors, T)e Lancey convened the 
Assembly early in February (1755), and in his message to them he 
desired that body to make proper provisions for putting the province in 
a state of suitable defence, to secure Albany against the French and 
Indians, and to authorize the building of a strong fortification farther up 
the Hudson Biver. 

The Assembly took prompt action. Utterly disregarding the royal 
instructions which prohibited the further issue of paper money by the 
colony unless authorized to do so by the crown, they ordered the emis- 
sion of over $100,000 in bills of credit. They authorized the levy of 
eight hundred men and the impressment of artificers, prohibited the 
exportation of provisions to the French colonies, and provided funds for 
arming the troops and for making presents to the Indians to secure their 

It was at this juncture that active preparations for the expeditions 
against Forts Niagara and Frontenac, under Shirley, and Crown Point, 
imder William Johnson, were begun. The call for volunteers and levies 
was cheerfully responded to. The troo]3S destined for these expeditions 
were ordered to assemble at Albany, and were gathered there at the 
close of June. Those who were to follow Shirley consisted of certain 
regiments of regulars from New England, New York, and New Jersey, 
and a band of Indian auxiliaries. Those who were to follow Johnson 
were chiefly New England and New York militia, nearly six thousand in 
number. Ship-carpenters were sent to Oswego to prepare vessels to 
cope with the French on Lake Ontario. The first armed schooner, 
carrying a dozen swivel-guns, was launched there at the close of June. 

Johnson's second in command was Colonel Lyman, of Connecticut,* who 

* Phineas Lyman was born at Durham, Conn., about 1716 ; died in West Florida in 
1775. He was a graduate of Yale College, and was a tutor there. He was first a mer- 
chant and then a lawyer in Suffield, where he was a magistrate several years. He was 


bore the commission of major-general wlien lie arrived at Albany at the 
middle of June. He was much superior in military ability to his chief, 
and should have held his jslace. He arranged the expedition for Johnson 
with skill and energy, and then, with the main body of the little army, 
he pressed forward during the hot days of midsummer to the " great 
carrying-place" between the Hudson and Lake Cham plain, fifty miles 
from Albany. He was accompanied by three hundred Mohawk warriors 
under the famous Mohawk chief King Hendrick.* While waiting for 
the tardy Johnson to arrive with artillery and stores, Lyman caused his 
men to construct a strong fortification of timber and earth, which was 
named Fort Lyman ; but Johnson afterward ungenerously changed the 
name to Fort Edward, that he might pay successful court to a young 
scion of royalty. 

When Johnson arrived at Fort Edward he took command of the army. 
News of Braddock's defeat dispirited him, and he would have abandoned 
the expedition had not Lyman urged him to go forward. It was deter- 
mined to proceed against Crown Point by way of Lake St. Sacrament, 

commander-in-chief of the Connecticut forces at the breaking out of the Frencli and 
Indian War, and performed admirable sOTvice at Lake George and its vicinity, as men- 
tioned in the text. He was with Lord Howe when he was killed in 1758 ; was at the 
capture of Crown Point and Montreal, and in 1762 he led troops against Havana, Cuba. 
In 1763 General Lyman went to England to secure prize-monej^ for himself and soldiers, 
and a grant of land near Natchez, on the Mississijopi. The region "oas called West 
Florida, and there he died soon after reaching it. 

* Hendrick was a famous ]\Iohawk sachem as well as a warrior, and was sometimes 
called ' ' King Hendrick. ' ' When Johnson encamped at Lake George and proposed to send 
out a small party to meet an approaching French force, Hendrick, who was wise and 
sagacious, said, " If they are to fight, they are too few ; if they are to be killed, they 
are too many." Johnson deferred to Hendrick's judgment, and sent out twelve hundred 
men. Hendrick was one of the most sagacious Indian statesmen of his time, but Johnson 
outwitted him once. Being at Johnson Hall, Hendrick saw and coveted a richly em- 
broidered scarlet coat. He tarried all night at the Hall. The next morning Hendrick 
said to Johnson, " Brother, me dream last night. " " Indeed, " answered Johnson. "What 
did my red brother dream?" " Me dream that coat be mine." " It is j'ours," said the 
shrewd Indian agent. Not long afterward Johnson visited Hendrick, and said, 
"Brother, I dreamed last night." "What did you dream?" asked Hendrick. "I 
dreamed that this tract of land was mine," describing a boundary which included nearly 
one hundred thousand acres of land. Hendrick was astounded, but would not be out- 
done in generosity. Pondering a few moments, he said, " Brother, the land is yours ; but 
you must not dream again." The title was conferred by the British Government, and 
the tract was called ' ' The Royal Grant. ' ' The portrait on page 166 is copied from a colored 
print made in London while Hendrick was on a visit there, about 1750. He appears in a 
full court dress presented to him by the king. His signature and totem may be seen 
among totemic signatures on page 6. Hendrick was born about 1680, and was killed in 
battle near Lake George in 1755. 




whicli Johnson now named Lake George in lionor of his king. At the 
head of that lake the commander established an open camp, utterly 
neglecting to intrench it. Suddenly scouts brought the alarming intelli- 
gence that the forest between Fort 
Edward and the head of Lake 
Cham plain Avas swarming with 
French regulars, Canadian militia, 
and Indians. Johnson immediately 
sent out Colonel Ephraim Williams 
(September 8th, 1755) with a 
thousand provincials and two hun- 
dred Mohawks under Ilendrick to 
the relief of Fort Edward. The 
foe had changed their destination, 
and were approaching Johnson's 
camp. The detachment fell into 
an ambuscade. Williams and 
Ilendrick and many of their fol- 
loM'ers were slain. The remainder 
fled back to the camp hotly pur- 
sued by the victors, tAvo tliousand strong, led by General the Baron 

Johnson was apprised of this disaster before tlie arrival of the fugitives, 
and hastily threw up a breastwork of trees, upon which he planted two 
cannons received the day before from Fort Edward. As the motley foe 
rushed upon the camp, discharges from these great guns terrified the 
Indians, and they fled to the woods. At that moment Lyman, who had 
hastened from Fort Edward to Johnson's relief, appeared, when the 
Canadian militia also fled. 

Johnson had been wounded by a mnsket-ball in the fleshy part of the 
thigh at the beginning of the action, and Lyman took the command. 
The French regulars continued the fight for about four hours, when, 
their commander being fatally wounded, they also fled and hastened 
back to Crown Point. General Lyman had won the victory and saved 
the army. 

Learning that the Frencli were strengthening Crown Point, Johnson, 
contrary to the opinions and wishes of his officers and troops, abandoned 
the enterprise and lingered long in his camp — long enough to build a 
fort at the head of the lake, which he named "William Henry. Having 
garrisoned it and Fort Edward, he returned to Albany with the remainder 
of his forces in October. He was rev/arded for his services in the cam- 


paign with the honors of knighthood and $25,000 to support the dignity. 
This honor and emohiment properly belonged to General Phineas Lyman.* 

The expedition of Governor Shirley against Forts Niagara and 
Frontenac was unsuccessful. It was late in August before the main 
body of his troops were gathered at Oswego, twenty-five hundred in 
number. Storms on the lake, sickness in his camp, and the desertion of 
his Indian allies (warriors of the Six Nations) compelled Shirley to 
abandon the expedition. Leaving a sufficient garrison at Oswego under 
Colonel Mercer, the remainder of the troops were marched back to 
Albany and disbanded. So ended the campaign of 1755. 

The home government now took up the quarrel. Great Britain 
declared war against France in May, 1756, and France reciprocated it by 
a similar declaration in June. The plan of the campaign for that year 
submitted by Shirley, the successor of Braddock — a splendid theorist, 
but with little practical knowledge of military matters — had already been 
adopted at a convention of colonial governors held at Albany in 
December, 1755. It was arranged that ten thousand men should pro- 
ceed against Crown Point ; six thousand against Niagara ; three thou- 
sand against Fort Duquesne, and two thousand to cross the wilderness 
between the Kennebec and Chaudiere rivers and menace Quebec by 
attacking the Frencli settlers in that region of Canada. 

Lord Loudoun, f a very lazy and most inefficient man, was appointed 
Shirley's successor as commander-in-chief of the British forces in 
America. lie sent his lieutenant, General Abercrombie (by no means a 
brilliant man), to America in the spring of 1756. He arrived at New 

* After the victory at Lake George Lyman vehemently urged Johnson to push for- 
"wavd immediately and take possession of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, which he might 
easily have done while the French were panic-stricken by their defeat. But Johnson had 
none of the qualities of a good general, not even sufficient moral courage, and did know 
how to profit by success. Shirley and others, and a council of war of his own officers, 
urged him to advance, but he spent weeks in his camp instead in building Fort William 
Henry. Jealous of General Lyman, whose superiority he felt, and with meanness only 
equalled by his incapacity, he did not even mention Lyman's name in his report of the 
battle to the Lords of Trade ; and immediately after the battle he changed the name of 
Fort Lyman to Fort Edward, as we have observed. The influence of friends at court 
secured to Johnson the honors and emoluments mentioned in the text. They were un- 
worthily bestowed upon an avaricious and immoral man and an unskilful general, while 
a noble, pure, and brave officer was suffered to go unnoticed either by his commander or 
the king whom he faithfully served. The pen of history will not neglect him. 

f John Campbell, fourth Earl of Loudoun, was born in Scotland in 1705. He was 
appointed Governor of Virginia in 1756, but leaving the province in charge of his lieuten- 
ant, Dinwiddle, he engaged in military affairs, in which his indolence and inefficiency 
worked much mischief. He was recalled from the colonies in 1757, and was made lieu- 
tenant-general the next year. He was created general in 1770, and died in 1782. 


York in June with some regular soldiers, and after loitering awhile near 
the sea he ascended the Hudson to Albany, where he found General 
"VVinslow at the head of seven thousand provincial troops. Winslow had 
been commissioned by Shirley to command the expedition against Crown 
Point. These troops were anxious to press forward, for the whole 
frontier of New York was menaced by the French and Indians. The 
enthusiasm and patriotism of the soldiers were repressed by Abercrombie, 
who cast a firebrand among them and the people by insisting upon the 
right of regular officers to command provincial officers of the same rank, 
and also the propriety of quartering the regular officers on the inhab- 
itants. These assmnptions, haughtily presented, caused serious disputes 
and mutual dislikes. Van Schaick, Mayor of Albany, disgusted with 
the superciliousness of the regular officers, said to them : " Go back 
again ; go back, for we can defend our frontiers ourselves." 

But Abercrombie would not allow the troops to move either way. He 
kept at least ten thousand men, regulars and provincials, at Albany until 
near the close of summer waiting for Loudoun, wlien the French had 
gained advantages that disconcerted the whole plan of tlie campaign. 

An energetic provincial officer — Colonel John Bradstreet — had per- 
formed a signal service in the interior w4th a handful of men, and 
rebuked his superiors by his activity. It was necessary to send pro- 
visions to the garrison at Oswego. Bradstreet was appointed to under- 
take the perilous task — perilous because it was known that the French 
and Indians were hovering around Oswego. With only two hundred 
provincials Bradstreet traversed the wilderness by way of the Mohawk 
Kiver, Wood Creek, and Oneida Lake, and passing down tlie Oswego 
River, put into the forts at Oswego provisions for five thousand men for 
six months. lie returned in safety after suffering incredible hardships. 

The Marquis de Montcalm, a field-marshal of France, had succeeded 
the Baron Dieskau in command of the French troops in America. 
Profiting by the delays of the English at Albany, and aware of the weak- 
ness of tlie British commanders, Montcalm proceeded to attack the post 
at Oswego. He gathered jBve thousand Frenchmen, Canadians, and 
Indians at Fort Frontenac (Kingston), crossed Lake Ontario, and on 
August lltli appeared before Fort Ontario, on the east side of the river 
at Oswego, and demanded tlie surrender of the garrison. That fort had 
been built recently. Colonel Mercer, in command, refused compHance, 
when the French began a regular siege. An attack at midnight was 
bravely resisted, when Colonel Mercer spiked his guns and withdrew the 
garrison to an older fort (built by Governor Burnet) on the west side of 
the river. Montcalm brought his cannon to bear upon this fort. 


Colonel Mercer was killed, and on the 14th the garrison, sixteen hundred 
strong, surrendered. The forts were demolished, Oswego was made 
desolate, and the country of the Six Kations was laid open to easy incur- 
sions by the enemy. 

The sluggish Lord Loudoun had just arrived, and was temporarily 
alarmed. After loitering at Albany a few weeks longer, recalling troops 
which had been sent toward Ticonderoga, and making wicked, unjust, 
and ungeiferous complaints against the provincials, expecting thereby to 
conceal his own imbecility, he dismissed them and ordered the regulars 
into winter quarters. He took a thousand of the latter to New York City 
and haughtily demanded the billeting of their officers upon the inhab- 
itants free of charge. The mayor, in behalf of the people, questioned the 
righteousness of the demand, when Loudoun, uttering a coarse oath, said : 

" If you do not billet my officers upon free quarters this day I'll order 
all the troops in Xorth America under my command, and billet them 
myself upon the city." 

Loudoun's demand was sustained by an Order in Council * passed a 
few months before, that troops might be, kept in the colonies and quar- 
tered on the people without the consent of colonial legislatures. The 
authorities at New York yielded to Loudoun's demand under a silent but 
most solemn protest. This was the earl's only victory in America. 
That order, virtually authorizing a standing army in the colonies to be 
maintained, in a great measure, by the people, was the magnetic touch 
that gave vitality to the sentiment of resistance whicli soon sounded the 
tocsin of revolution. 

Military operations under Loudoun's command were quite as ineffi- 
cient elsewhere as in the province of New York. Colonel Washington 
was at the head of fifteen hundred volunteers and drafted militia, and 
was anxious to act against Fort Duquesne ; but he was made powerless 
by official interference and incapacity. 

Loudoun called a military council at Boston in January, 1757. He 
proposed to confine the operations of that year to an expedition against 
Louisburg (which had been restored to the French by the treaty of Aix- 
la-Chapelle), and to a defence of the northern frontiers. The colonists 
of New York and New England desired to expel the French from the 

* The British Privy Council is an assembly of advisers in matters of State appointed 
by the sovereign. It was first established by King Alfred in 895, and consisted of only 
twelve members, and was a permanent committee. Now it is composed of the chief 
magnates of the nation, including the ministry. A Privy Councillor must be a native 
of Great Britain. The authority of Parliament is delegated to this body in the regulation 
of public affairs. " Orders in council " have the force of constitutional commands. 


region south of the St. Lawrence and to recover Oswego. They were 
grievously disappointed by Loudoun's perverseness ; yet their ardor and 
patriotism were not much abated, for at the opening of summer six 
thousand provincials were under arms. Members of the military council 
had mildly remonstrated, but in vain. Loudoun was imperious, and had 
very little respect for the opinions of provincials ; and wiser and better 
men than he were compelled to acquiesce. 

Loudoun determined to go to Louisburg himself. After impressing 
into the British service four hundred men at New York, he sailed for 
Halifax in June, where he found himself at the head of a well-appointed 
army of ten thousand men and a fleet of sixteen ships of the line and 
several frigates. Instead of going to Cape Breton at once and attacking 
the strong fortress there, Loudoun employed his men in laying out a 
parade, planting a vegetable garden for their use, and exercising them 
in sham battles. So he wasted the precious summer-time. At last 
when, in August, he prepared to sail for Louisburg, he was informed 
that the garrison there had been re-enforced, and that tlie French had 
one more ship than he. Alarmed, this absurd leader, who was always 
in a hurry but always unready — "like St. George on a tavern sign, 
always on horseback but never going forward " — abandoned the enter- 
prise and sailed for New York to hear of military disasters in that prov- 
ince. These will be noticed presently. 

For more than a year the English in America had acted so much 
" like women" that the Indians were disgusted, while the activity of 
the French won their admiration and alliance. At the beginning of the 
summer of 1757 warriors from " more than thirty nat'ons" were at 
Montreal. Governor Vaudreuil told them of glory and plunder surely 
to be obtained by alliance with the French. Montcalm danced their 
wild war-dances with them and sung their fierce war-songs with them 
until their affection for him and enthusiasm for the French cause became 
intense. They went in a wild, tumultuous march for St. John's, on the 
Sorel (the outlet of Lake Champlain), accompanied by priests who 
chanted hymns and anthems in almost every Indian dialect. In canoes 
and bateaux the French and their dusky allies went up Lake Champlain 
and landed at Ticonderoga in hot July. Thence Montcalm sent maraud- 
ing parties almost to Fort Edward under Marin, who had destroyed the 
hamlet of Saratoga more than a dozen years before. 

Very soon Montcalm* appeared on Lake George with eight tliousand 

* The Marquis de Montcalm was born in France in 1712, and was of noble descent. 
He entered the army while he was yet a lad, and soon distinguished himself. In 1756 he 


men (two thousand of them Indians) and a train of artillery, and laid 
siege (August 2d) to Fort William Henry.* then garrisoned by less than 
five hundred men under Colonel Munro, supported by almost ten thou- 
sand provincials in an entrenched camp upon a gentle rocky eminence, 
■where may now be seen the dim ruins of the citadel of Fort George. A 
little more than a dozen miles distant was Fort Edward, where lay the 
timid General Webb with about four thousand troops. 
( - Munro was surprised. General AVebb had learned from scouts of the 
approach of the foe, but more willing to have them fall upon Fort William 
Henry than upon Fort Edward, he concealed the fact from Munro. 
When Montcalm appeared the latter sent an express to Webb imploring 
succor. Not doubting it would be sent, he promptly refused compliance 
■with ^lontcalm's summons to surrender the fort, and bravely sustained a 
siege for several days, continually expecting aid from Fort Edward in 
response to several expresses sent to Webb. But no succor came. 
Webb would not spare a man. He finally sent a letter to Munro filled 
with exaggerations, and advising him to surrender. The letter fell into 
the handS' of Montcalm at a moment when he was about to abandon the 
siege and retire. The French leader immediately made a peremptory 
demand for a surrender. Despairing of succor, Munro yielded, and on 
the morning of August 9th (1757) the garrison marched out to the 
intrenched camp under a promise of protection and other honorable con- 
ditions. They were promised that they should proceed in safety to Fort 
Edward on parole. 

Montcalm had kept intoxicating liquors from his Indians, but the Eng- 
lish settlers supplied them with rum. After a night's carousal the bar- 
barians, inflamed with intoxication and a desire for plunder, were ready 
for any mischief, and when the prisoners left the camp for Fort Edward 

■vras sent to Canada, -with the rank of major-general, to take the chief military command 
there. After serving with skill and bravery in America for about three years, he was 
killed in battle at Quebec in September, 1759. 

* During the previous winter fifteen hundred French regulars and Canadian militia 
went down from the St. Lawrence to Lake George, travelling mucli of the way with 
snow-shoes, and attempted to take Fort William Henry by surprise. Their provisions 
were carried on small sledges drawn by dogs, and their beds were bear-skins spread on 
the snow. Stealthily they went over the frozen lake and appeared before the fort at 
midnight (Marcli 16tli, 1757). The garrison were on the alert. The invaders set fire to 
three vessels frozen in the ice there, a storehouse, and some huts, and escaped by the light 
of the conflagration. Rogers's Rangers were at the fort, and were noted for tlieir 
aggressive movements that winter. One of their bravest men was Lieutenant Stark 
(afterward the hero of Bennington), who commanded the Rangers in the absence of 
Rogers. Under Stark they were often found attacking parties of the foe in the vicinity 
of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. 


the crazed Indians, defying Montcalm's efforts to restrain them, fell 
upon the defenceless captives, when a fearful scene of slaughter, plunder, 
and devastation ensued. The fort and its appendages were laid in ruins, 
and for nearly one hundred years nothing marked its site but some half- 
concealed mounds. Xow a large summer hotel stands upon its site. 
This sad event was the closing one of the campaign of 1757, and, happily, 
ended the leadership of the Earl of Loudoun on this side of the Atlantic. 

Montcalm did not attempt further conquests at that time, but returned 
to Ticonderoga, strengthened the works there, and sent out scouting 
parties to annoy the British and capture their foragers. These enter- 
prises were fruitful of exciting scenes.* 

The position of affairs in America now alarmed the English people. 
The Americans were brave and high-spirited, and recent events had 
manifested strength and their ability to support themselves. With a 
sense of their independence of Great Britain there was danger of their 
alienation. Some of the royal governors were rapacious; others were 
incompetent ; all were, as a rule, haughty in their demeanor. The 
arrogant assumption of superiority by the British military officers dis- 
gusted the provincial troops and often cooled the ardor of whole regi- 

Perceiving the incompetency of the government of the aristocracy, 
the people of Great Britain yearned for a change in the administration 
of public affairs. The popular will prevailed. William Pitt was called 
to the premiership in June, 1757. " Give me your confidence," said 
the great commoner to the king, " and 1 will deserve it." "Deserve 
}ny confidence," tlie king replied, " and you shall have it." 

Pitt would not listen to the pernicious twaddle about enforcing royal 
authority in America that fell from the lips of the Lords of Trade. 
" We want the co-operation of the Americans," he said, " and to have 
it we must be just and allow them freedom." These words ran like an 

* These scouting parties Avere watched by Major Rogers and his Rangers of New 
Hami3sliire. The afterward famous Israel Putnam was his lieutenant. On one occasion 
a party of French and Indians led by Captain Molang captured a convoy of English 
wagoners. Rogers and Putnam attempted to intercept the French on their return, but 
fell into an ambush, and Putnam and a few followers, separated from the rest, were 
captured. His comrades were killed and scalped, but he was reserved for torture. He 
passed the night bound to a tree, where his clothes were riddled with bullets by the cross 
tiring of the combatants. lie was taken deeper into the forest, fast bound to a tree, and 
a fire was built around him, when a sudden thunder-.shower nearly extinguished the 
flames. They soon began to blaze fiercely again, when Molang, who had heard of these 
proceedings, rushed through the band of Indians, released Putnam, and carried him to 


electric thrill tlirougli the hearts of the colonists, and men and money 
were freely offered for the cause. The French in Canada were growing 
weaker, for they received scanty aid from France. " The king relies on 
your zeal and obstinacy of courage," wrote the French Minister to 
Montcalm in 1758. '' Without unexpected good fortune or blunders on 
^he part of the English," the candid general replied, " Canada must be 
lost this campaign, or certainly the next." 

Pitt soon diffused his own energy and wisdom into eveiy department 
of the government. lie did not demand anything of the colonies, but 
ashed them to raise and clothe twenty thousand men, promising them, in 
the name of Parliament, to furnish arms, tents, and provisions for such 
levies, and also to reimburse the several colonies all the money they 
should expend in raising and clothing these troops. A large naval arma- 
ment for American waters was placed under the command of Admiral 
Boscawen, and twelve thousand British troops were allotted for service in 
America. This liberal policy had a magical effect. New England alone 
raised fifteen thousand of the required levies ; New York furnished about 
three thousand ; New Jersey, one thousand ; Pennsylvania, three 
thousand, and Virginia two thousand. 

The scheme for the campaign of 1758 was extensive in its intended 
operations. Shirley's plan of 1756 was revived and its general outlines 
were adopted. The chief points of assault were designated — Louisburg, 
Ticonderoga, and Duquesne. Twelve thousand men under General 
Amherst were to attack Louisburg, and possibly Quebec. Another 
army was to be led from Albany by Abercrombie and young Lord 
Howe to attack Ticonderoga, and General Joseph Forbes was ap- 
pointed to lead another army over the Alleghany Mountains to attack 
Fort Duquesne. 

Louisburg received the first blow. Boscawen with forty armed vessels, 
bearing Amherst with a land force of twelve thousand men, and having 
General Wolfe as his lieutenant, left Halifax at near the close of May, 
and on June 8th the troops landed near Louisburg. The French, after 
a vigorous resistance of about fifty days, surrendered the fort and city 
and the islands of Cape Breton and Prince Edward to the British. 
When Louisburg fell the French dominion in America began to wane, 
and from that time its decline was rapid. 

While Amherst and Wolfe were conquering in the east, Abercrombie 
and young Lord Howe were leading seven thousand regulars, nine thou- 
sand provincials, and a large train of artillery against Ticonderoga, then 
occupied by Montcalm with about four thousand soldiers. Howe was 
*' the soul of the expedition." He was a " Lycurgus of the camp," 


introducing stern rules and radical reforms, and adapting everything to 
the absolute needs of the service. 

Through the activity of Colonel John Bradstreet,* ably assisted by 
Major Pliilip Schuyler, bateaux for carrying troops over Lake George 
were ready by the time the necessary stores arrived from England, and 
before the end of June Howe led tlie first division of the troops to the 
head of the lake. Abercrombie arrived there with the remainder at the 
beginning of July. The provincial troops were chiefly from New Eng- 
land and New York. Among the officers were Captains Stark, of New 
Hampshire, and Putnam, of Connecticut. 

The whole armament went down the lake on a beautiful Sabbath after- 
noon (July 5th, 1758), led by Lord Howe in a large boat, and landed at 


dawn the next morning at its northern extremity between four and five 
miles from Fort Ticonderoga. The occupants of a French outpost there 
fled. The first intimation they had of the proximity of an enemy was 
the blaze of the scarlet uniforms of the British in the morning sun. 

The country between the lake and Ticonderoga was covered with a 
dense forest and tangled morasses. The British immediately pressed 
forward. Lord Howe leading the advanced guard. Following incom- 
petent guides, they became bewildered, and while in that condition they 
suddenly encountered a French scouting party. A sharp skirmish 
ensued, and the French troops were defeated ; but Lord Howe was slain 
in the first fire. He was pierced by a bullet and expired inmiediately. 

* John Bradstreet was born in 1711 ; died in the city of New York September 25th, 
1774. He was a lieutenant-colonel of Pepperell's provincial regiment at the siege of 
Louisburg in 1745, and in the autumn was commissioned captain in a regular regiment. 
In 1746 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of St. John's, Newfoundhuid. He was 
General Shirley's adjutant at Oswego in 1755, and in 1756 conveyed supplies to that post 
through great jierils. He was quartermaster-general of the provincial forces under 
General Abercrombie, and after the repulse at Ticonderoga led a successful exjx^lition 
against Fort Frontenac. He was an efficient officer under Amherst in 1759, was commis- 
sioned colonel in 1762, major-general in 1764, and commanded an expedition against tlie 
Western Indians, and negotiated a treaty of peace. 



His followers, dismayed, retreated in wild confusion to the landing-place 
and bivouacked for the night.* 

Abercrombie advanced about half way to Ticonderoga the next day, 
and sent his chief eno-ineer, with 
some rangers under Captain Stark, 
to reconnoitre the French works. 
The engineer reported the works 
very weak.^ Stark, instructed by his 
practised eye, declared they were 
very strong. Abercrombie, with his 
usual contempt for provincials, re- 
jected Stark's testimony, and on the 
morning of the 8th, having been , 
joined by Sir William Johnson with 
more than four hundred Indians, he 
ordered his men forward to scale the 
breastworks of the French lines, 
while he, like a coward, remained 

The assailants soon found that 
Stark was right. The breastworks were strong, and after a most 
sanguinary struggle for about four hours the British were repulsed with 
fearful loss. They fled with precipitation back to Lake George, leaving 
almost two thousand of their comrades dead or wounded in the forest. 
Abercrombie had preceded them in their flight, in " extremest fright ;" 
and all hurried to their old camp at the head of the lake. Abercrombie 
felt safer when he had put that little sea, thirty-eight miles in length, 
between himself and Montcalm. 

Colonel Bradstreet, burning with indignation because of the shameful 
defeat, urged upon a council of war held at the head of the lake the 
importance of capturing Fort Frontenac, and offered to lead an expe- 
dition against it. After much hesitation Abercrombie commissioned 
him to undertake the enterprise with three thousand men. Bradstreet 
hastened with them to Albany, where he was joined by Major Philip 


* George, Lord- Viscount Howe, was the eldest son of Sir E. Scrope, second Viscount 
Howe of Ireland. He commanded five thousand British troops who arrived at Halifax 
in 1757, and tlie next year, as we have observed in the text, he accompanied Abercrombie 
on his expedition against Ticonderoga. He was the idol of his soldiers. Mante 
observes : " With him the soul of the army seemed to expire." He was thirty-four years 
of age at bis deatli. The General Court of Massachusetts Bay appropriated $1250 for the 
erection of a monument to his memory in Westminster Abbey. 



Schuyler, and then " almost flew" up the vallej of the Mohawk and on 
to Oswego. Schuyler and some men had reached that post earlier and 
prepared vessels wherewith to cross the lake with men, cannons, and 
stores. The expedition landed near Frontenac on the evening of August 
25th. The French were taken completely by surprise. The fort 
mounted sixty cannons, but the garrison was very small. The com- 
mander sent to Montreal for aid, but before it could reach him he was 
compelled to surrender the fort and its dependencies, with immense 
spoil, particularly in stores destined for Fort Duquesne ; also nine armed 
vessels carrying from eight to eighteen guns each. 

The capture of Frontenac, the re- 
sult of a brilhant expedition, was 
one of the most important events of 
the war. It facilitated the fall of 
Duquesne, discouraged the French, 
gave joy to the English, and re- 
flected honor on the provincials. 
It raised a cry for peace throughout 
Canada, the resources of which were 
almost exhausted. "I am not 
discouraged," wrote Montcalm, in 
evident disappointment, " nor are 
my troops. We are resolved to 
find our graves under the ruins of 
the colony. ' ' * 

The expedition against Fort 

Duquesne, led by General Forbes, 

was finally successful in spite of 

him. He set out with about six 

thousand men in July. He was 

a Scotchman and a "regular" British ofiicer ; perverse in will and 

judgment, and indecisive in action. Sickness and inefficiency and a 

persistence in constructing a new military road over the mountains pro- 

* Bradstreet lost only four or five men before the capture of Frontenac. Then a fearful 
sickness — dysentery — broke out among his troops, and five hundred of them were swept 
away. With the remainder he slowly retraced liis steps, and on the Mohawk River, at 
the site of the (present) village of Rome, his troops assisted in building Fort Stanwix 
under the direction of General Stanwix. 

f The pen-and-ink sketch above given was made from a photograph of the original 
study made by Charles Willson Peale for his three-quarter length jwrtrait of "Washington 
in the uniform of a Virginia colonel. It was made at Mount Vernon in 1772, when 
Colonel Washington was forty years of age. 



duced such almost interminable delays that on November 1st the army 
■was fifty miles from Fort Duquesne. At length the impatient Colonel 
"Washington was sent forward with a detachment of Virginians, and very 
soon accomplished the object of the expedition. Indian scouts employed 
by the French discovered "Washington's approach, and their report so 
greatly exaggerated the number of his men that the frightened garrison, 
five hundred strong, set lire to the fort in the evening (November 24th, 
1T58) and fled in confusion down the Ohio in boats by the light of the 
flames, leaving everything behind them. The Virginians took possession 
of the fort the next day, and the name of Fort Duquesne was changed 
to Fort Pitt in lionor of the British Prime-Minister. 

With the close of this expedition ended the campaign of 1758. It had, 
on the whole, resulted favorably to Great Britain, and Pitt made vast 
preparations for the campaign of the next year. The attachment of 
some of the Indian allies of the French had been much weakened, and 
at a great council held at Easton, in Pennsylvania, in the summer of 
1758, six tribes had, with the Six Nations, made treaties of friendship 
and neutrality with the English. 



The final struggle between the Frencli and English for mastery in 
North America was now at hand. Pitt, with wonderful sagacity and 
with as wonderful knowledge of the theatre of conflict in America, con- 
ceived a magnificent plan for the conquest of Canada and the destruction, 
at one blow, of the Frencli dominion beyond the Atlantic. That 
dominion now did not really extend beyond the region of the St. Law- 
rence, for tlie settlements or stations in the far west and south were like 
distant, isolated, and weak colonies cut off from the parent country. 
The French in America were then comparatively few in number and 
weak in supplies of every kind. Montcalm was then chief military com- 
mander ; but in all Canada he could not muster seven thousand men into 
active service, and very few Indians. 

Pitt had the rare good fortune to possess the confidence of Parliament 
and the English- American colonies. The former were dazzled by his 
greatness, the latter were impressed with his justice. He had promptly 
reimbursed the expenses of the colonists in raising and clothing troops, a 
sum amounting to at least $1,000,000 ; and they cordially seconded his 
scheme of conquest, which had been communicated to their chief men 
under an oath of secrecy. The Parliament voted $60,000,000 for the 
American service, and forces by land and sea such as had never before 
been known in England. " This is Pitt's work," said the Earl of 
Chesterfield, " and it is marvellous in our eyes !' ' The ineflScient Aber- 
crombie w^as superseded in the chief command in America by Sir 
Jeffrey Amherst,* with General James Wolfe as his lieutenant. 

The plan of operations was simple. General Wolfe, with a strong 

* Sir Jeffrey Amherst was born in Kent, England, January 29th, 1717 ; died August 
3d, 1797. He entered the royal army as ensign in 1731, and was aide to Lord Ligonier 
and the Duke of Cumberland. He was promoted to major-general in 1756, and was in 
chief command of the English forces sent against Louisburg in 1758. In September 
that year he was appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces in America, and led 
the troops that drove the French from Lake Champlain in 1759. The next year he 
captured Montreal and completed the conquest of Canada. For these acts he was 
rewarded with thanks and knighthood. In 1763 he was appointed Governor of Virginia. 
In 1771 he was Governor of Guernsey, and was created a baron in 1776. He was com- 
mander-in-chief of the British forces from 1778 until 1795, and was created a field-mai-shal 
in 1796. 




land force and a well-manned fleet under Admiral Saunders, was to 
ascend the St. Lawrence Kiver and attack Quebec. Another force 
under General Amherst was to drive the French from Lake Champlain, 
seize Montreal, and join Wolfe at 
Quebec ; while a tliird expedition, 
led by General Prideaux, was to. 
attempt the capture of Fort Niag- 
ara, and, if successful, to go down 
Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence 
to Montreal. 

When, at the close of summer 
(1758), Amherst, at Cape Breton, 
heard of the disaster at Ticon- 
deroga he sailed for Boston with 
four regiments and a battalion, and 
made a forced march across New 
England to Albany to re-enforce 
the defeated Abercrombie. He 
arrived at Lake George early in 
October, but too late for further 
action in the field that season. 

He went to New York, and in November he received his commission as 
commander-in-chief. He spent the winter in New York City making 
preparations for the next campaign. In the spring he made his head- 
quarters at Albany ; appointed Colonel Bradstreet quartermaster-general 
of his army ; collected his forces, and at the close of May found himself 
at the head of twelve thousand men, chiefly of New York and New 
England. The Assembly of New York had authorized the emission of 
half a million dollars in bills of credit, and a loan to the crown of a large 
sum, to be reimbursed before the close of the year. 

Prideaux collected his forces, chiefly provincials, at Oswego. From^ 
that point, accompanied by Sir William Johnson and some Mohawks, he 
sailed for Niagara, and landed there without much opposition on July 
15th. A siege was immediately begun, and on the same day Prideaux 
was killed by the bursting of one of his cannons, when Johnson assumed 
the chief command. He demanded the surrender of the fort. The com- 
mander was in hourly expectation of re-enforcements and refused com- 
pliance, and for several days the garrison made a brave resistance. 

On the 24:tli about fifteen hundred French regulars and many Creek 
and Cherokee warriors, drawn from Detroit and elsewhere, appeared, 
commanded by Colonel D'Aubrey, when a sharp battle ensued. The 


French and their allies were soon effectually routed and dispersed. The 
next day (July 25tli) the fort and its dependencies were surrendered to 
the British. The French dominion in that region was fairly annihilated, 
and the connecting link of military power between Canada and Louisiana 
was broken never to be restored. Lieutenant-Governor De Lancey 
wrote to the Lords of Trade : " Ilis Majesty is now in possession of the 
most important pass in all the Indian countries." 

Johnson was so encumbered with prisoners that he could not provide 
a sufficiency of vessels to convey him and his troops, with the captives, 
to Montreal, so he garrisoned Fort Niagara and returned to Albany, 

Late in June Amlierst was at the head of Lake George with about 
twelve thousand troops, regulars and provincials in equal numbers ; and 
on July 22d he appeared before the lines at Ticonderoga with about 
eleven thousand men. The French, conscious of their own weakness 
and peril, fled down the lake to Crown Point, and almost immediately 
abandoned that post also and took a longer flight, halting at Isle aux 
Noix, at the foot of the lake, or rather in the Sorel River, its outlet. 
Amherst took possession of Crown Point without opposition, and was 
about to follow the French with a detachment of his army, when he was 
informed that the allies were three thousand strong and that the lake was 
guarded by four vessels carrying heavy guns numerously manned, under 
the command of a skilful French naval officer. 

Amherst paused, and ordered the construction of several vessels of war 
at Crown Point. Upon these he embarked his whole army at the middle 
of October, for the purpose of driving the French beyond the St. Law- 
rence. Heavy tempests drove him back to Crown Point, where he went 
into winter quarters, and then set his troops at work in the construction 
of a strong and costly fort, the picturesque ruins of which are seen by 
tourists on Lake Champlain. The fort and its appurtenances cost the 
British Government several million dollars. It remained in their pos- 
session until 1775. 

Meanwhile a more successful expedition was consummated. The fleet 
of Admiral Saunders, consisting of twenty-two line-of -battle ships, many 
frigates and smaller vessels, bore General Wolfe and eight thousand 
troops up the St. Lawrence River in June (1759). These landed on the 
Island of Orleans, a few miles below Quebec, on the 27th. 

Quebec, then as now, consisted of an Upper and Lower Town, the 
former being surrounded by a strongly fortified wall pierced by five 
gates. An elevated plateau three hundred feet above the river and 
extending from the rear of the city some distance up the St. Lawrence 
is called the Plains of Abraliam, a locality made famous in history by 


the events of this expedition. At the junction of the St. Charles River 
with the St. Lawrence, at the foot of the rocky promontory on which 
lies the Upper Town, tlie Frencli had armed vessels and floating hat- 
teries. The city was strongly garrisoned by French regulars, and along 
phe river from Quebec to the Montmorenci River, a distance of seven 
[miles, lay the army of Montcalm, consisting chiefly of Canadians and 
Xndians, in an intrenched camp.* 

With amazing skill and vigor Wolfe prepared for the siege of Quebec. 
He took possession of Point Levi, nearly opposite the city, a mile 
distant, on July 30th, where lie erected batteries and whence he hurled 
blazing bombshells upon the Lower Town, setting on fire fifty houses in 
one night. The citadel was beyond their reach. The French sent down 
fire-rafts to burn the British fleet anchored below, but without success. 

"SYolfe, eager to gain a victory speedily, had landed a large force 
(July 10th, 1759) under Generals Townshend and Murray below the 
Montmorenci, and formed a camp there. Wolfe was in possession of the 
river, but the large fleet could do little more than reconnoitre, trans- 
port troops, and guard the channels. It seemed impossible to force 
a passage across the Montmorenci above the cataract. The only way was 
to cross it at its mouth at low tide. 

Finally, at near the close of July, General Monckton, with grenadiers 
and other troops, was sent over from Point Levi, and landed on the 
beach above the mouth of the Montmorenci. Without waiting for troops 
from the British camp below to join him, Monckton, with his grenadiers, 
rushed up the steep acclivity to attack Montcalm's lines, when they were 
driven back to the beach, while a fierce thunder-storm was raging. Dark- 
ness came on. The roar of the rising tide admonished them to take to 
their boats, which they did, but with a loss of nearly five hundred of 
their comrades, who had perished. 

Wolfe sent Murray above the town with twelve hundred men to de- 
stroy French ships there, and to open the way for Amherst. But alas ! 
Amherst did not come. Murray heard of the fall of Fort Niagara and 
of the expedition of the French from Lake Champlain, but received no 
direct tidings from Amherst. 

Two months had passed away since the landing on Orleans, and yet 
no imijortant advance had been made. In vain Wolfe listened for the 
drums of Amherst. Not even a message came from him, for reasons 
already given. Exposure, anxiety, and fatigue prostrated the commander 

* Montcalm had his headquarters in a stone building not far from Beauport Mills. It 
commanded a view of Quebec and its immediate vicinity. 


early in September. He called a council of war at his bedside, when it 
was determined to scale the Heights of Abraham and assail the city in 
the rear. Feeble as he was, Wolfe resolved to lead the attack in person. 
The camp at the Montmorenci was broken up (September 8th), and the 
iittention of Montcalm was diverted from the real designs of the British 
by seeming preparations to attack his lines. The affair was managed so 
secretly and skilfully that even De Bougainville, a French officer with 
fifteen hundred men who had been sent up the river to watch the 
movements of the British, did not suspect their design. 

On the evening of the 12tli the whole army destined for the assault 
moved up the river from Point Levi in transports, several leagues 
above the chosen landing-place. At midnight they left the ship^, and 
embarking in flat-boats, floated noiselessly down the stream with the ebb- 
ing tide.* Black clouds obscured the sky, but the voyagers reached 
their destination in good order, and landed without being discovered. 
The place where they disembarked is still knov/n as Wolfe's Cove. 
They at once clambered up the tangled ravine that led to the Plains of 
Abraham, and at dawn on the 13th about five thousand British troops 
stood upon the heights, a fearful apparition to the French sentinels and 
the sergeants' guard at the brow of the acclivity, who, in hot haste, 
carried the alarming news first to the garrison in Quebec and then to 
Montcalm at Beauport, beyond the St. Charles River. " It can only be 
a small party come to burn a few houses and return," said the incredu- 
lous commander. 

Montcalm was soon undeceived. He immediately sent orders for De 
Levi and De Bougainville to return with their troops. Abandoning his in- 
trenchments, he led a greater portion of his army across the St. Charles, 
and at ten o'clock in the morning they stood in battle array on the Plains 

* Wolfe appeared to be in good spirits, yet there was evidently a brooding shadow of 
a presentiment of evil. A.t the evening mess he sang the little campaign song beginning, 

" Why, soldiers, why 

Should we be melancholy boys ? 

Why, soldiers, why. 
Whose business 'tis to die," etc. 

And as he sat among his officers and floated softly down the river in the gloom, he re- 
peated, in his musing tones, that stanza from Gray's "Elegy in a Country Church- 
yard"— . 

" The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, 
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, 
Await alike th' inevitable hour — 
The path of glory leads but to the grave." 

At the close he said, " Now, gentlemen, I would prefer being tiie author of that ixjem 
to the glory of beating the French to-morrow. " 


of Abraham, near the town. Both parties lacked heavy guns. The 
French had three field -pieces, the English only one — a light six- 
pounder which some sailors had dragged uj) the ravine. The two com- 
manders, at the head of their respective troops, faced each other. 

A general, fierce, and sanguinary battle now ensued. The British 
miiskets were dduble-shotted, and the soldiers reserved their fire until 
within forty yards of their foes, when they poured npon the French 
such destructive volleys that the latter were thrown into utter confusion. 
The terrible English bayonet completed the work and secured the vic- 
tory. Wolfe and Montcalm had both been mortally wounded. Wolfe, 
leaning on the shoulder of an officer, was borne to the rear. His ear 
caught the exclamation, " See ! they run ! they run !" 

" Who runs ?" asked the dying hero in a whisper. 

"The enemy, sir; they give way everywhere!" was the reply. 
Wolfe then gave an order to cut off their retreat, and then said, in an 
almost inaudible whisper : 

" Now, God be praised, I die happy !" and expired. 

Montcalm's surgeon said to his wounded general, " Death is certain." 

" I am glad of it," said the marquis. '* How long have I to live ?" 

" Ten or twelve hours ; perhaps less." 

" So much the better ; I shall not live to see the surrender of Quebec !" 

About seventy years after this event an English governor of Canada 
caused a modest granite column to be erected on the spot where Wolfe fell, 
with the inscription, " Here died Wolfe, victorious September 13th, 
1Y59. " In its place now stands a beautiful Doric column of granite dedi- 
cated to the memory of both Wolfe and Montcalm. It also bears the former 
inscription. It was erected by the British army in Canada in 1849. 

General Townshend assumed the command of the British army, and 
five days after the battle he received the formal surrender of the city of 
Quebec. The remainder of Montcalm's army, under De Levi, fled to 
Montreal. So, brilliantly for the English, ended the campaign of 1759. 
Yet Canada was not conquered. Five thousand troops under General 
Murray took possession of the great prize. The fleet, with French 
prisoners, sailed for Halifax. 

The final struggle for the mastery in Canada was begun early in the 
spring of 1760, when Yaudreuil, the governor-general, sent De Levi, 
with ten thousand regulars, Canadians, and Indians in six frigates to 
attempt the recovery of Quebec. De Levi appeared before the city at 
the close of March, when the brave Murray went out with his whole 
force — less than tliree thousand — to attack him. At Sillery, three miles 
above Quebec, one of the most sanguinary battles of the war was fought. 


Murray was defeated. He lost all Lis artillery and a thoneand men, 
but managed to get back into the city with the remainder. De Levi 
then began a siege, and Murray's condition was becoming desperate 
when a British squadron, with re-enforceracnts and supplies, appeared. 
Supposing it to be the whole British fleet, De Levi withdrew and fled 
to Montreal, after losing most of his shipping. Vaudreuil gathered all 
his forces at Montreal, the last stronghold of French dominion in 
America. Amherst spent the whole summer in preparations for an 
attack upon that city. His movements were slow but sure. With 
almost ten thousand men and one thousand Indians under Sir William 
Johnson he proceeded to Oswego, crossed Lake Ontario, went down 
the St. Lawrence, and appeared before Montreal on September 6th. 
lie had captured Fort Presentation, at the mouth of the Oswegatchie 
River (now Ogdensburg), on his way. Murray arriv^ed from Quebec at 
noon the same day with four thousand troops, and before night Colonel 
Haviland, who had proceeded from Crown Point and had driven the 
French from Isle aux Noix, arrived there with three thousand men. 

Surrounded by almost seventeen thousand foes, Vaudreuil at once 
capitulated, and on the 8th Montreal and all Canada passed into 
the possession of the British crown. General Gage was appointed 
governor-general at Montreal, and Murray, viath his four thousand 
troops, garrisoned Quebec. Fort Detroit was yet in possession of 
the French. Major Robert Rogers* was sent with some rangers 

* Robert Rogers, a famous partisan soldier in the French and Indii^n Ww, was born at 
Dumbarton, N. H., about 1730, and died in England in 1780. Hiss father was from 
Ireland, and an early settler of Dumbarton. Robert was in command of a corps of 
rangers during the French and Indian War, and did gallant service. In 1758 he fought 
a bloody battle with the French and their Indian allies in Northern New York. He had 
170 men ; the French, 700, including 600 Indians. After losing 150 men he retreated, 
leaving 150 of his enemies dead on the Held. In 1759 General Amherst sent him to de- 
stroy the Indian village of St. Francis, which he did, killing 200 of the barbarians. In 
1760 he was sent to take possession of Detroit and other Western forts ceded to Great 
Britain. It was done. Then he went to England, and in 1765 was appointed governor 
of Mackinaw. Accused of treasonable designs, he was sent to Montreal in irons, tried 
by a court-martial, and was acquitted. In 1769 he again went to England, and was 
graciously received by the king. Becoming financially embarrassed, he went to Algiers, 
where he fouglit two battles for the Dey. He returned to America, and at the opening 
of the w^ar for independence his course was so suspicious tliat lie was arrested by order of 
Congress, and released on parole. In 1776 Washington, suspecting him of Iwing a spy, 
arrested him. Congress soon released him, when he openly took up arms for the crown, 
and raised a corp of Loyalists, which he called the " Queen's Rangers." He soon went 
to England, leaving them in command of Liexitenant-Colonel Simcoe, imder whom they 
became a famous partisan corps. In 1776 Major Rogers published, in London, " Joiu-nals 
of the French War." 



to take possession of it, wliich was accomplished at the close of 

This conquest and the treaty signed at Paris early in 1763 deprived 
France of all her territorial posses- 
sions in North America. Great Britain 
soon became the sole possessor of the 
Continent from the Gulf of Mexico 
to the Arctic seas and from ocean to 
ocean, but at a cost during her sev- 
eral struggles of fully $500,000,000 
and many thousand precious lives. 

During many long and gloomy 
years the colonists had struggled up, 
unaided and alone, from feebleness to 
strength. They had erected forts, 
raised armies, and fought battles cheer- 
fully for England's glory and their 
own 'preservation without England's 
aid and often without her sympathy.* 
During the French and Indian War, 
the turmoil of which in America 
was now ended, did they cheerfully 
tax themselves and contribute men, 
money, and provisions. They lost 
during that war 25,000 robust men on 
land, and many seamen. That war 
cost the colonists, in the aggregate, 
fully $20,000,000, besides the flower 

of their youtiis ; and in return Parliament granted them, at different 
times during the contest, only about $5,500,000. And yet the British 
Ministry, in 1760, while the colonists were so generously supporting 
the power and dignity of the realm, regarded them as mere servile sub- 
jects to the king, and imposed a tax upon them to replenish the exhausted 
British Treasury. 

A dangerous movement, known as " Pontiac's Conspiracy," inimedi- 
atelv followed the war — a conspiracy planned by Pontiac, a powerful, 


(From a print published iu Loudou iu 1776.) 

* When, on the floor of the British House of Commons, Charles Townsliend, speaking 
of the English- American colonists, said : " They have been planted by our care, nourished 
by our indulgence, and protected by our arms," Colonel Barre retorted : " No ; your 
oppression planted them in America ; they grew by your neglect ; and they have nobly 
taken up arms in your cUfence." 


sagacious, and ambitious Ottowa chief, wlio succeeded in confederating 
several Algonquin tribes for the purpose of crushing the newly-acquired 
British power westward of the Niagara River.* It was an echo of the 
French and Indian War. It was ripe before its growth was even sus- 
pected. Within a fortnight, in the summer of 1763, all military posts in 
possession of the British west of Oswegq to Lake Michigan fell into the 
possession of Pontiac by treachery or surprise, excepting Forts Niagara, 
Pitt, and Detroit. The conspiracy was soon subdued, and the power of 
the hostile tribes was broken. Pontiac would not yield, but took refuge 
in the country of the Illinois, where he was treacherously murdered by 
one of liis own race. 

Lieutenant-Governor DeLancey managed the civil affairs of the province 
of New York with wisdom and energy from the death of Sir Danvers 
Osborne, in 1753, until his own sudden death from apoplexy in the 
summer of 1760, f a period of about seven years. As we have observed, 
Sir Charles Hardy, a naval officer, came to New York as governor in 
1755, but, more incompetent than Clinton as a civil ruler, he was com- 
pletely dominated by De Lancey. He received his salary, and allowed the 
lieutenant-governor to hold the helm of the ship of State. Sir Charles 
left the province in the summer of 1757, when he hoisted his flag over 
a naval vessel in the harbor of New York as Rear-Admiral of the Blue, 
and took command iti the expedition against Louisburg. He never re- 
turned to the executive chair. 

During the administration of De Lancey important social movements 
had occurred in the city of New York. Allusion has been made to the 

* In April, 1763, Pontiac called a council near Detroit of representatives of many 
North- Western tribes, and the Senecas of Western New York. That council presented a 
gay scene. The chiefs were attended by their families, dressed in their gaudiest apparel. 
They gathered in groups to feast, smoke, gamble, and tell stories ; many of them were 
Ijedizened with feathers, beads, and other tokens of pride — "young maidens," says 
Parkman, " radiant with bear's oil and ruddy with vermilion, and versed in all the ails 
of forest coquetry. " The grave men were seated on the ground in coiuicil in consecutive 
rows, and after the pipe had gone round from hand to hand, Pontiac, painted and 
])lumed, arose and delivered an impassioned speech. He displayed in one liand a broad 
belt of wampum, and assured his hearers that it came from the French, who would soon 
come with ships and armies to reconquer Canada. 

f De Lancey was found by one of his children, on the morning of July 30th, 1760, 
dying, in his chair, in his study, in which he had probably sat all night, a.s he frequently 
did, on account of chronic asthma. He had dined the day before, with a number of lead- 
ing men of the province, on Staten Island, where lie indulged, as was common on such 
occasions, in excessive eating and drinking. He returned to his home in the Bowery in 
the evening and retired to liis study, from which he never emerged alive. There was an 
ostentatious funeral. His body was buried lieneath the middle aisle of Trinity Churcli, 
the Rev. ]VIr. Barclay conducting the funeral services. 




neglect of intellectual cultivation in the province. Leading men had 

long deplored this state of things, and perceived the danger to society 

which might he evolved by such 

neglect as population and wealth 

increased. Finally, in 1754, Dr. 

Cadwallader Golden,* James de 

Lancey, Philip Livingston, Peter 

Schuyler, Abraham de Peyster, 

Frederick Philipse, William 

Smith, and others founded the 

New York Society Library, now 

one of the noblest of the literary 

institutions of the city. A neg- 
lected germ of such an institution 

had existed about fifty years. The 

chaplain of Governor Bellomont 

(Jacob Sharp) gave to the city, in 

1700, a collection of books to which 

was afterward added many more 

by the Rev. John Millington, of 

England. It formed the Gorporation Library ; but the books were 

neglected and nearly forgotten. When the Society Library was formed, 

these books were added to it. 

At the same period an effectual movement was made for the foun- 
dation of a college in the 
city of New York, There 
were then few collegians 
in the province. For 
many years Mr. De Lan- 
cey and AVilliam Smith, 
the elder, were the only 

"academics," excepting those in holy orders; and at the time in 

question there were only thirteen others, the youngest of whom had his 

* Cadwallader Colden was a physiciau and a native of Scotland, where he was born 
in 1688. He emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1708, returned to Scotland, and came back to 
America in 1716. Two years later he made the province of New York his residence at 
the request of Governor Hunter, and was appointed surveyor-general of the colony. In 
1720 he becaine a member of Governor Burnet's Council, and made his residence "in 
Orange County. He became lieutenant-governor of the province in 1761, which position 
he occupied during the remainder of his life. He died on Long Island in 1776. Through- 
out the troublous times preceding the Revolution, he managed public affairs with great 




bachelor^ 8 degree at the age of seventeen.* In 1746 the Assembly 
autliorized a lottery to raise funds for the establishment of a college. 
Nearly $6000 were thus raised. It was increased in 1754, and King's 
(now Columbia) College was founded and chartered. 

At that time sectarianism was rampant in the province, and there was 
a bitter strife between the Episcopalians, or those of the Church of Eng- 
land, and the Presbyterians, for the control of the college. The aristoc- 
racy were generally members of tlie Episcopal Church, and in the contest 
for the control of the college they were victorious. Trinity Church 
offered a site for the college building on the condition that the president 
should always be an Episcopalian, and that the prayers of the Church 
should always be used in it. Governor De Lancey gave it a charter on 
these conditions in 1754, but there was a liberal distrii)ution of the trustee- 
ship among other denominations. Hev. William Samuel Johnson, D.D., 
was appointed the first president. f 

New York City at that time had a population of about fourteen thou- 
sand, and contained an Episcopal, a Presbyterian, and a French church, 
two German Lutheran churches, a Quaker aiid an Anabaptist meeting- 
house, a Jewish synagogue, and a Moravian congregation. The Jews 
were disfranchised, and the Moravians were persecuted as Jesuits in dis- 

The sectarian controversy at that time was a consequence of a discov- 
ered scheme of Dr. Seeker, Archbishop of Canterbury, for the estal)lish- 
ment of Episcopacy in the colonies, largely for the purpose of curbing the 
Puritan spirit in political and religious affairs. The throne and the 
hierarchy were, in a sense, mutually dependent, and Dr. -Seeker's propo- 
sition was warmly supported by the British Cabinet. It was as warmly 
opposed by the Dissenters and all independent thinkers in the colonics. 

* These collegians were Peter van Brugli Livingston, John Livingston, Philip Living- 
ston, William Livingston, William Nicoll, Benjamin Nicoll, Henry Hansen, William 
Peartree Smith, Benjamin Woolsey, William Smith, Jr. (the historian), John McEvers, 
and Jolin van Horner. 

f William Samuel Johnson, D.D., was born in Guilford, Conn., in 1C96, and was sixty 
years of age when he became jiresident of King's College. He was a graduate of Yale 
in 1714, and was a tutor there for a while. In 1720 ho became a preacher at West Haven, 
and w(!nt to England in 1723 to receive Episcopal ordination. He returned in 1723 with 
the honor of the degree of M. A., conferred at Oxford. He settled in Stratford, but was per- 
secuted by the other sects there. He left tlie place, and was absent several years ; engaged 
much in literary pursuits, preparing, among other \iseful works, a System of Morality, 
Avhich Dr. Franklin published as a text-book for the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. 
Johnson was a man of great learning. He resigned in 1763, and returned to Stratford 
the same year. There, resuming the charge of his old parish, he lived until his death in 
January, 1772. 


The latter regarded the scheme as a weapon of contemplated tyranny. 
Tlien was kindled the flame of desire in the hearts of a vast number of 
English-Americans to have 

\~* — ^ " A Cliurcli without a Bishop, 
A Throne without a King, ' ' 

wdiich burned so fiercely a few years later,* 

Dr. Golden, the President of the Council, and then seventy-three 
years of age, became acting governor on the death of De Lancey, and soon 
received the appointment of lieutenant-governor. He was continued in 
that office about sixteen years, and, in consequence of the frequent ab- 
sence of the governors, was repeatedly at the head of public affairs. 

On the death of De Lancey the office of chief-justice became vacant. 
Golden was urged to appoint an incumbent at once. Wishing to com- 
pliment the Earl of Halifax, the Secretary of State for the colonies, 
Golden asked him to nominate a candidate for chief-justice. To the 
amazement and indignation of the New York Assembly and the people, 
instead of a nomination there came an appointment to the office by the 
king of a Boston lawyer named Pratt. He was not appointed, as formerly, 
to hold the office " during good behavior," but " at the pleasure of the 
king." This was one of the first of the arbitrary acts of young George 
III,, who had just ascended the throne, which drove the colonies to re- 
bellion. Indeed, the New York Assembly rebelled at that time. They 
resolved that while judges held office by such a tenure, and were mere 
instruments of the royal will, they would grant them no salaries. Golden 
found himself in trouble at the very beginning. 

The authorities of New York had a long and serious quarrel with the 
inhabitants of the territory of the (present) State of Vermont at this 
period. After the settlement of the boundary-line between New York 
and Gonnecticut mentioned in a former chapter, the boundary be- 
tween New York and Massachusetts was tacitly fixed on a line parallel 
to that of the former, and permanently so in 1764. Governor Penning 
Wentworth assumed that a line parallel to that of the western boundary 
of Gonnecticut was the true boundary of his own province. Having 

* The chief controversialist on the side of the Dissenters was William Livingston, 
afterwai-d Governor of New Jersey, and then a young lawyer of much repute. He dealt 
heavy blows against Episcopacy and in favor of Presbyterianism in a weekly publication 
called the Independent Reflector., first issued late in 1752. He began his assaults on Epis- 
copacy in 1753 behind the veil of anonymity. His language was bold and defiant, but 
dignified and unexceptionable. The influence of the civil authority, the Episcopal 
clergy, and the aristocracy at length induced the printer to cease printing the Reflector, 
and with its fifty-.second number (November, 1753) it was discontinued. 


aiitliority to issue grants of unoccupied lands witliin his province, he gave 
many patents to settlers west of the Connecticut River. 

The New York authorities, who had acquiesced in the boundaries of 
Connecticut and Massachusetts, now claimed territorial jurisdiction north 
of Massachusetts, eastward to the Connecticut River, by virtue of the 
original grant given to. the Duke of York. Regardless of this claim, 
Wentworth issued a patent for a township six miles square, which was 
named Bennington. This brought the question of jurisdiction to an 
issue. New York vehemently asserted its claim ; Wentworth paid no 
attention to it ; and when the Frencli and Indian War broke out, he had 
issued patents for fourteen townships west of the Connecticut River. 

The dispute was renewed after the war, and when, in 1763, Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Colden sent a proclamation among the people in tliat 
region declaring the Connecticut River to be the eastern boundary of 
the province of New York, Wentworth had created one hundred and 
thirty-eight townships the size of Bennington west .of the Connecticut. 
They occupied a greater portion of the area of the (present) State of Ver- 
mont, and were called " The New Plampshire Grants" from that time. 

The autliorities of New York, inspired by grasping land speculators, 
not content with asserting territorial jurisdiction, claimed the right of 
property in the soil of that territory, and declared Wentworth's patents 
to settlers invalid. The crown confirmed these claims, and orders were 
issued for the survey and sale of farms in the possession of settlers who 
had paid for and improved them. This act of oppression was like sow- 
ing dragons' teeth to see them produce a crop of armed men. The set- 
tlers cared not who were their political masters so long as their private 
rights were respected. But this act of injustice converted them into 
rebellious foes, determined and defiant. There appeared at once an op- 
position not only of words, but of sinews and muskets, supported by 
indomitable courage and inflexible wills — the spirit of true English lib- 
erty coming down to them through their Puritan ancestors. Foremost 
among those who took a firm stand in opposition to the oppressors was 
Ethan Allen, the boldest of the bold. 

Finally the governor and Council of New York summoned all the 
claimants under the grants of New Hampshire to appear before them at 
Albany, with their deeds, on a certain day. No attention was paid to the 
summons. Writs were issued for the ejectment of the settlers from 
their estates, and surveyors were sent to resurvey the lands. This move- 
ment brought on a crisis, and for several years the New Hampshire 
grants formed a theatre where all the elements of civil war excepting 
actual carnage, were in exercise. Magistrates, police, and armed citi- 


zens were constantly vigilant, and when an officer of the Government or 
of the land speculators of New York appeared he was seized and pun- 
ished by whipping or other severity, and was driven out of the domain. 
No legal process could be served, nor the sentence of any court estab- 
lished there by New York be carried out. The settlers effectively 
spurned the bribes and the threats of the New Yorkers. 

The settlers sent an agent to London to lay their case before the 
crown. He returned in 1767 with a royal order directing the govern- 
ment of New York to suspend all proceedings against the j^eople of the 
-4' Grants ;" but very little attention was paid to the royal mandate. In 

1770 the settlers appointed a Committee of Safety to manage pubhc 
affairs. They commissioned Ethan Allen colonel commandant, and in 

1771 tiiey passed a resolution that no officer from New York should be 
allowed to exercise any jurisdiction over the people of the " Grants" in 
any capacity without permission from the committee. 

In 1772 Governor Tryon attempted conciliation, but failed. The 
Legislature of New York passed a law that any offender against its 
authority on the " Grants" who should not surrender on the order of 
the governor within a specified time should be deemed guilty of a 
felony and punished with death, "without benefit of clergy," such 
culprit to be tried for the crime in the county of Albany. A reward 
was offered for the apprehension of Allen and other leaders. 

This harsh legislation did not alarm the settlers, and the struggle con- 
tinued sharply until the beginning of the old war for independence. It 
was kept up in a mild form during that war, and afterward until the 
admission of Vermont into the Union, in 1791, a period of forty years. 
The defenders of the rights of the people of the " Grants" acquired the 
name of " Green Mountain Boys." * Allen and other leaders, as well 
as the " rank and file," played a conspicuous part in the war for inde- 

The story of the conflict between the government of a powerful prov- 
ince against a few settlers on disputed territory forms one of the most 
interesting chapters in our national history. 

* On account of the loftiest hills in that region being covered with verdure, the name 
of Vert Mont — Green Mountain — was given to it. In the conflicts with the " Yorkers," 
some of the settlers were driven from the Champlain slope into the mountains, from 
which they issued for purposes of resistance, and were called " Green Mountain Boys." 




On the morning of October 25tli, 1760, Prince George, heir-apparent 
to the throne of Great Britain, and then about twenty-three years of 
age, was riding on horseback near Kew Palace with his tutor the Earl 

of Bute, when a messenger infonned him that 
his grandfather, King George 11. , had been 
found dead in a closet. Pitt called upon him 
the next day at the palace of St. James and 
presented him with a copy of an address to be 
read to the Privy Comicil. The minister was 
politely informed that a speech had already 
been prepared and every preliminary arranged. 
Pitt perceived that the courtier, Bute, had 
made the arrangements, and he withdrew. 
This circumstance had an important relation to 
the future destiny of the English- American 
colonies, and particularly of that of New York, as we shall observe 

Robert Monckton, son of Yiscount Gal way and a major-general in the 
British army, was appointed Governor of New York, but did not occupy 
the chair long. He arrived in November, 1701, and in February follow- 
ing he took command of an expedition destined for the capture of the 



island of Martinique. He sailed from New York with twelve thousand 
men, was successful, returned to New York the next June, and " began 
his administration," says Smith, " with a splendor and magnificence 
equal to his birth." 





General Monckton remained in Xew York - awhile, and then left the 
government to Golden. Monckton was succeeded in office early in 1764: 
by Sir Henry Moore, a gay, affable, good-natured, and well-bred gentle- 
man. Moore's administration did not begin until late in 1765. It 
covered a large portion of a stormy period in the history of N"ew York. 
Sir Henry left the province in 1769, when 
Golden again asaumed the reins of govern- 

The 3^oung king on his accession had 
jjarted with Pitt as his chief adviser, and, 
as we have just observed, made the Earl of 
Bute, a Scotch adventurer and a special 
favorite of the sovereign's mother, prime- 
minister of the realm. Bute proposed to 
bring the American colonies into absolute 
subjection to the crown and Parliament. To 
do this effectually it was resolved, in accord- 
ance with the recommendation of tJie Board of Trade and Plantations, 
to annul the American charter, to reduce all the American provinces to 
royal governments, and to gain a revenue by collecting duties to be 
imposed upon goods imported into the colonies. 

Among the first movements toward this end was making the judiciary 
of Xew York dependent upon the crown, to which allusion has been 
made. As wo have observed, this act created much alarm and indigna- 
tion in the public mind. " To make 
the king's will the tenure of office," 
said a reiDresentative of the people, "is 
to make the bench of judges the in- 
strument of the royal prerogative." 
William Livingston, John Morin Scott, 
and William Smith, three eminent law- 
yers of New York, expressed their 
opinions freely and protested boldly in 
the newspapers against the measure ; and the New York Assembly 
resolutely refused to grant a salary to Chief-Justice Pratt, who finally 
received it from the crown. Governor Moore disapproved the ob- 
noxious measure, and even Governor Golden advised against it ; but 
it was persisted in, and the crown continued to appoint judges, paying 
their salaries and making them independent of the people. 

Another cause of popular irritation and resistance was the practical 
assertion of Parliament of its right to tax the colonists without their con- 



sent. Duties were imposed upon goods imported into the colonies, and 
collectors of customs were sent to enforce the revenue laws. These laws 
were frequently resisted or evaded, especially at Boston. The Superior 
Court of Massachusetts gave the collectors warrants, called " Writs of 
Assistance," which authorized the holders to search for smuggled goods 
when and where they pleased, and to demand assistance from others. 
" The meanest deputy of a deputy's deputy" might enter the house of a 
citizen unchallenged. The people regarded the matter as a violation of 
their liberties — a violation of the English maxim, " Every man's house 
is his castle." A solemn protest produced an argument before a crowded 
meeting of citizens in Boston, when the fiery James Otis vehemently 
denounced the writs, and said : 

" I have determined to sacrifice estate, ease, health, applause, and even 
my life to the sacred call of my country in opposition to a kind of power, 
the exercise of which cost one king his head and another his throne." 
" On that day," said a contemporary, " the trumpet of the Revolution 
was sounded." 

Then followed the fearful popular agitation in the colonies caused by 
the famous Stamp Act, in which New York appeared conspicuous — an 
act which declared that no legal instrument used in the colonies should 
be valid, after a prescribed date, unless it bore a government stamp, for 
each of which a prescribed sum of money, varying in amount from three 
cents to thirty dollars, was demanded. With greater boldness or reck- 
lessness than any former minister had exhibited, George Grenville, at 
the head of the Treasury and the ablest man in the House of Commons, 
submitted a bill authorizing stamp duties early in 1764. Even the great 
minister, Walpole, had said, many years before, " I will leave the tax- 
ation of America to some of my successors who have more courage than 
I have;" and the greater Pitt said, in 1759, "I will never burn my 
fingers with an American Stamp Act." 

This proposed measure caused universal excitement in the colonies. 
The people were divided. The old English titles of " Whig" and 
" Tory" now first came into use in America. The great question was 
freely discussed at public gatherings. The pulpit sometimes sounded an 
alarm. The newspaper press spoke out boldly. " If the colonist is 
taxed without his consent, he will, perhaps, seek a change," said Holt's 
New York Gazette^ significantly. 

Nowhere did the flame of resentment burn more fiercely than in New 
York, and nowhere were its manifestations more emphatic. Colden, 
the acting governor, then seventy-seven years of age, true to his sover- 
eign, endeavored to suppress all opposition to the acts of the imperial 



legislature ; but his efforts were like a breath against a gale. The as- 
sociation of the Sons of Liberty, whicli had appeared thirty years 
before, was revived with great vigor,* and a Committee of Correspond- 
ence to communicate with the agent of the colony in England and with 


the several colonial assemblies on the subject of the oppressive measures 
of Parliament was appointed. 

When, in the spring of 1765, the Stamp Act became a law, words of 
defiance were uttered everywhere in the colonies. Energetic action soon 
followed. Public sentiment took a more dignified form than popular 

* The principal members of the Association in the province of New York at that time 
were Isaac Sears, John Lamb, Alexander MacDougal, Marinus Willett, William Wiley, 
Edward Laight, Thomas Robinson, Hugh Hughes, Floris Bancker, Charles Nicoll, 
Joseph AUcock, and Gershom Mott, of New York City ; Jeremiah van Rensselaer, 
Myndert Rosenbaum, Robert Henry, Volkert P. Douw, Jelles Fonda, and Thomas Young, 
of Albany and Tryon counties ; John Sloss Hobart, Gilbert Potter, Thomas Brush, Cor- 
nelius Conklin, and Nathan Williams, of Huntington, L. I. ; George Townsend, Baruk 
Sneething, Benjamin Townsend, George and Michael Weekes, and Rowland Chambers, 
of Oyster Bay, L. I. 

f From an engraving by Tiebout ia 1792. Within the Bowling Green is seen the 
pedestal on which stood the equestrian statue of King George HI. The spear-heads of 
the pickets, as may now (1887) be seen, were all broken off. On the right is No. 1 Broad- 
way, the headquarters of General Sir Henry Clinton. On the left is seen a point of Gov- 
ernor's Island ; on the right, in the distance, is Staten Island, and in the extreme distance 
the Narrows, the open gateway from the harbor to the ocean. 


liarangues and heated discussions. At the suggestion of the Massachu- 
setts Assembly a colonial convention of delegates assembled at the city 
of !N"ew York on October 7th, 1705. Nine colonies were represented 
by twenty-seven delegates. Those of New York were Robert R. Living- 
ston, John Cruger, Philip Livingston, William Bayard, and Leonard 
Lispenard. Timothy Ruggles, of Massachusetts, presided. They were 
in session fourteen days, and sent forth three able State papers — namely, 
a " Declaration of Rights," written by John Cruger, of New York ; a 
" Memorial to both Houses of Parliament," by Robert R. Livingston, 
also of New York ; and a " Petition to the King," written by James 
Otis, of Massachusetts. The proceedings of this Stamp Act Congress 
were approved and signed by all the members excepting Timothy 
Ruggles, of Massachusetts, and Robert Ogden, of New Jersey, who 
espoused the cause of the crown in the great struggle that ensued. 

The. first day of November (1765) was the time appointed for the 
Stamp Act to go into operation. Stamp-distributors for their sale were 
appointed. James McEvers had been chosen the agent for New York. 

The Sons of Liberty demanded his resignation. Colden jjromised him 
protection ; but when the stamps arrived, late in November, McEvers 
was so alarmed by the manifestations of opposition that he refused to 
receive them, and they were taken into the fort for safety, where the 
venerable Colden resided. The people were exasperated, and appearing 
in large numbers before the fort, demanded the delivery of the stamps 
to them. A refusal was answered by defiant shouts by the Sons of 
Liberty, who were not dismayed by the presence of British ships of war 
in the harbor and the pointing of the cannons of the fort upon them and 
upon the town. 

An orderly procession was formed. It soon became a roaring mob. 
IlaJf an hour after the governor's refusal he was hung in on the 
spot where Leisler, the democrat, was executed seventy-live years before. 
Then the mob went back to the fort, dragged Colden's fine coach * to 
the open space in front of it, and tearing down the wooden railing that 
surrounded the Bowling Green, piled it upon the vehicle and made a 
bonfire of the whole. After committing some other excesses,t the 

* Colden's coacli-Uouse and stable were outside the fort and easy of acceas. There 
■were only three or four coaches in the city at that time, and as they belonged to wealthy 
friends of Government, they were considered by the people as evidences of aristocratic 

■f The mob rushed out to tlie beautiful seat of Major James, at the intersection of 
(present) Wortli Street and West Broadway, where tliey destroyed his fine library, works 
of art and rich furniture, and desolated liis charming garden. Ilis seat was named 


excited populace paraded the streets with the Stamp Act printed on 
large sheets and raised upon poles, with the words, " England's Folly 
AND America's Ruin. " 

Golden, clearly perceiving that further resistance to the popular will 
would be futile, ordered the stamps to be delivered to the mayor 
(Cruger) and the Common Council, on condition that any that should 
be destroyed or lost should be paid for. Quiet was restored. Soon 
afterward a brig brought to New York ten boxes of stamps. They were 
seized by some citizens and burnt at the shipyard at the foot of (present) 
Catharine Street. 

The first of jSTovember ^vas Friday — a truly "black Friday" in 
America. It was ushered in by the tolling of bells and the display of 
flags at half-mast, as if a national calamity had occurred. Minute-guns 
were fired. There were orations and sermons adapted to the occasion. 
As none but stamped paper could be legally used, and as the people were 
determined not to use it, all business was suspended. The courts were 
closed, marriages ceased, and social and commercial operations in 
America were paralyzed. Yet the people did not despair, nor even 
despond. They felt conscious of rectitude and of inherent strength. 
They held in their own hands a remedy, and very soon applied it 

On the day before the Stamp Act was to take effect many merchants 
in New York City, at a meeting held there, entered into a solemn agree- 
ment not to import from England certain enumerated articles after the 
first of January next ensuing. The chairman of an active committee of 
correspondence (John Lamb) addressed a circular letter to the merchants 
in other cities, inviting their co-operation in the non-importation policy. 
It was cheerfully acceded to, and merchants great and small followed 
the example of New York traders. The patriotic people co-operated 
w^ith the merchants, and began domestic manufactures. The wealthiest 
vied with the middling classes in wearing clothing of their own manu- 
facture. That wool might not become scarce, the use of sheep flesh for 
food was discouraged. 

The mighty forces for defence against oppression, which for years 
worked so potentially in favor of liberty in America, thus put in motion 
in New York, hurled back upon England with great power the commer- 
cial miseries which she had inflicted upon her colonies. The most sensi- 
tive nerve of her political and social organism was so rudely touched that 

Ranelagh. A few months afterward it was converted into a place of public resort, and 
called the Ranelagh Garden. James was a British officer who had become obnoxious to 
the people. 



the British merchants and manufacturers earnestly joined the Americans 
in efforts to compel the Government to repeal the obnoxious act. Tliey 
were successful. The Stamp Act was repealed early in 1766, having 
■existed in a helpless state one year. In the words of a couplet upon the 
tombstone of a little baby, it might have asked, 

" If I so soon am done for, 
I wonder what I was begun for ?" 

To New York merchants is due the honor of having invented those 
two powerful engines of resistance to obnoxious acts of the British 


Parliament, and which worked with so much potency at the beginning 
of the old war for independence — namely, the Committee of Corre- 
spondence and the Non-im])ortation League. Tho repeal of the Stamp 
Act caused great rejoicings on both sides of the Atlantic. The city 
of New York was filled with delight on the beautiful May day when 

* This was a famous place of resort for the Sons of Liberty in New York for sev- 
eral years before the old war for independence. It was a coffeehouse kept by George 
Burns, at No. 9 Broadway. There the first non-importation league of the merchants of 
New York was formed, on October 31st, 1765 — a consequence of the obnoxious Stamp 
Act. The league was signed by more than two hundred merchants. The above engrav- 
ing shows the liouse as it appeared at the time of that occurrence. It remained a place 
of public resort until about 1860. Broadway slopes a little at that point. 



the glad tidings arrived. Cannons thundered a royal salute, bells rang 
out nierrj peals, and the Sons of Liberty feasted together. A month 
later, on the king's birthday (June 4:th), there was another public cel- 
ebration, given under the auspices of Governor Moore, when royal 
salutes were again fired. There was a banquet at the King's Arms 
Tavern, near the Bowling Green, in which all the magnates of the city 
participate^. Again the Sons of Liberty feasted together ; and in 
the Fields (now the City Hall Park) an ox was roasted whole, and 
twenty-live barrels of beer and 
a hogshead of rum were pro- 
vided for the people. The 
town was illuminated in the 
evening, and bonfires blazed, 
while the heavens were made 
brilliant with fireworks. The 
people erected a tall mast and 
unfurled a banner, upon it in- 
scribed, " The King, Pirr, and 
Liberty, ' ' and called it Liberty 

Pitt, who had been the chief 
instrument in Parliament in 
securing the repeal, was idol- 
ized by the people. At a 
meeting of citizens (June 23d) 
a petition was unanimously 
signed praying the Provincial 
Assembly to erect a statue in 
honor of the " Great Com- 
moner" in the city of New 
York. The Assembly complied, 
and at the same time voted an 

equestrian statue of the king. Both were set up in 1770, that of Pitt 
being of marble, and that of the king lead. Pitt's statue was erected at 
the junction of Wall and William (then Smith) streets ; the king's was set 
up in the centre of the Bowling Green.* Six years afterward the statue 
of the king was pulled down by an indignant populace, and a little later 
British soldiers mutilated the statue of Pitt. 

* By a singular oversight the artist omitted to give the king's saddle stirrups, as will 
be seen in the sketch. The "Whigs of New York said, in 1776, " Good enough for him ; 
he ought to ride a hard-trotting horse without stirrups." 



Popular discontent soon followed the hallelujahs of joy, for the repeal 
act was accompanied by another which declared that the British Parlia- 
ment had the right to "bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever." 
Sagacious men clearly saw in this declaratory act an egg of tyranny con- 
cealed, out of which might proceed untold evils. Events soon justitied 
their forecast. The incubation was not protracted. 

Almost at the moment when the people were celebrating the king's 
birthday in a spirit of hearty loyalty. Governor Moore informed the 
Kew York Assembly, then in session, that he hourly expected troops 
from England to garrison the fort there, and desired them to make 
immediate provision for them, in accordance with the requirements of 
the British Mutiny Act, which commanded citizens to billet troops upon 
themselves when necessity called for the measure. The Assembly 
declared that the power of the act did not extend to the colonies, and 
that there M-^as no necessity for more troops at New York. The gov- 
ernor persisted, but the Assembly were firm in their refusal to comply 
wath his requisition. 

The troops came with authority to break into houses in searching for 
deserters, and to do other arbitrary things. The people were indignant. 
The Sons of Liberty were aroused to vigorous action. They rallied 
around the Liberty Pole which they had erected under the inspiration of 
true loyalty to their sovereign. The insolent soldiers cut down the 
symbol of liberty, and when, the next day, the citizens were setting it 
up again they were attacked by the troops. Still another pole was 
erected, and Governor Moore forbade the soldiers to touch it. 

In January, 1770, soldiers went out from the barracks at midnight, 
prostrated the Liberty Pole, sawed it into pieces, and piled them before 
the headquarters of the Sons of Liberty. The bells of St. George's 
Chapel in Beekman Street rang an alarm, and very soon fully three 
thousand indignant citizens stood around the mutilated flag-staii. The 
city was fearfully agitated for several days, and affrays between the citizens 
and soldiers occurred. Finally they had a severe encounter on Golden 
Hill (between Cliff and AVilliam, John and Fulton streets), in which the 
soldiers were worsted and several of them were disarmed. The citizens 
were armed with various missiles. The conflict on Golden Hill in New 
York City may be regarded as the initial battle of the old war for inde- 

The New York Assembly steadily refused to comply with the require- 
ments of the Mutiny Act. The press spoke out boldly. William 
Livingston wrote prophetically in a New York newspaper : 

" Courage, Americans ! Liberty, religion, and science are on the 


wing to these shores. The finger of God points out a mighty empire to 
your sons. The savages of the wilderness were never expelled to make 
room for idolaters and slaves. The land we possess is the gift of Heaven 
to our fathers, and Divine Providence seems to have decreed it to our 
latest posterity. The day dawns in which the foundation of this mighty 
empire^is to be laid, by the establishment of a regular American Consti- 
tution. All that has hitherto b6en done seems little beside the collection 
of materials for this glorious fabric. 'Tis time to put them together. 
The transfer of the European family is so vast, and our growth so swift, 
that before seven years will roll over our heads the first stone must be laid." 

Seven years afterward the first Continental Congress assembled at 

The rebellious spirit manifested by the xTew Yorkers amazed and 
incensed the British Ministry, and they resolved to bring the refractory 
Assembly into humble obedience. Parliament forbade (1767) the " gov- 
ernor, Council, and Assembly of New York passing any legislative act 
for any purpose whatever' ' until they should comply with the require- 
ments of the Mutiny Act. Parliament levied duties upon certain neces- 
sary articles imported into the colonies with the avowed purpose of 
drawing a revenue from them, and authorized the establishment of a 
Board of Trade, or Commissioners of Customs, to regulate and collect 
the revenue thus ordered. They also attempted to suppress free discus- 
sion in the colonies by means of Committees of Correspondence. 

This last act aroused the free spirit of the people to instant resistance. 
When Governor Moore transmitted to the New York Assembly instruc- 
tions from Lord Hillsborough against " holding seditious correspondence 
with other colonies," and called upon the Legislature to yield obedience, 
they boldly remonstrated against this ministerial interference with the 
inalienable right of a subject, and refused to obey. 

On the death of Governor Moore, in September, 1769, Colden again 
became acting governor, when he coalesced politically with the De 
Lancey party. Very soon a gradual change in the political complexion 
of the Provincial Assembly was apparent. The leaven of aristocracy 
had begun a transformation, and a game for political power, based upon 
a proposed financial scheme, was begun.* It was a scheme which 
menaced the liberties of the people. 

* This was issuing bills of credit, on the security of the province, to the amount of 
$300,000, to be loaned to the people, the interest to be applied to defraying the expenses 
of the colonial government. It was really a proposition for a monster bank without 
checks, and intended to cheat the people into a compliance with the requirements of the 
Mutiny Act by the indirect method of applying the profits to that purpose. 


The popular leaders, discerning the danger, sounded the alarm. An 
incendiary hand-bill, signed " A Son of Liberty," was posted through- 
out the city, calling a meeting of the " betrayed inhabitants" in the 
Fields. It denounced the nioney scheme and tlie Assembly, and 
pointed to the political coalition as an omen of danger. Obedient to 
the call, a very large concourse of citizens gathered around the Liberty 
Pole on a cold December day, M^ho, after a harangue l)y John Lamb, 
by unanimous vote condemned the proceedings of the Assembly. 
Another hand-bill from the same pen appeared the next day, and more 
severely denounced the Assembly in terms which were deemed libel- 
lous. A reward was offered for the name of the author. He was 
soon found to be Alexander McDougal, a seaman, who was afterward 
a major-general in the Continental x\rmy. He was arrested, and re- 
fusing to plead or give bail, was sent to prison. On his way to jail he 
said : 

" 1 rejoice that I am the first to suffer for liberty since the commence- 
ment of our glorious struggle." 

Being a sailor, McDougal was regarded as the " true type of impris- 
oned commerce ;" also as a martyr to the cause of liberty. His prison 
was daily the scene of a public reception. The most respectable citizens 
visited him. He was toasted at a banquet of the Sons of Liberty, who 
went in a procession to the jail to visit him. Ladies of distinction daily 
thronged there. Popular songs were written and sung below his prison- 
bars, and emblematic swords were worn. He was finally released on 
bail, and he was never tried. 

Open rebellion in the colonies now seemed imminent. British soldiers 
were stationed in New York and Boston to overawe the peoj)le. Their 
insolence in words and manner ]3roduced continual irritation. There 
was a collision in Boston on March 5th (1770) between the citizens and 
soldiers, which aroused the indignation of all the colonies. Three 
l^ersons were killed by the soldiers, and five were dangerously wounded. 
This event is known in history as the Boston Massacre. 

On the day of the massacre the British prime-minister (Lord North) 
introduced into Parliament his famous Tea Act, which repealed 
all duties im2)osed upon articles imported into the American colonies, 
excepting upon tea. This one article was excepted as a practical asser- 
tion that Parliament had a right to tax the Americans without their con- 
sent. But this was the substance of the vital principle involved in the 
dispute, and the grand political postulate, " Taxation without representa- 
tion is tyranny," was vehemently asserted. The non-importation power 
was set in motion, and the people warmly co-operated by refusing to 




use tea.* The stubborn king and the stupid ministry could not compre- 
hend the idea involved, that a tax upon a single article, however small, 
was as much a violation of the spirit and letter of the postulate as if laid, 
in oppressive measure, upon a dozen articles. 

Meanwhile the leaven of Toryism in the Assembly had extended its 
influence among the people. The Sons of Liberty in New York had 
formed a General Committee of One Hun- 
dred and a Yigilance Committee of Fifty, 
charged with the duty of watching the 
movements of the Whigs and Tories, and 
preventing, if possible, violations of the non- 
importation agreement. The Committee 
of One Hundred became widely disaffected 
by Toryism. The Yigilance Committee, 
more radical, denounced them, and the 
patriotic citizens of New England uttered 
indignant protests, but in vain. The New 
York merchants at large became disaffected, 
and at midsummer, 1770, the Committee 

of One Hundred, composed largely of merchants, resolved upon a 
resumption of importations of everything but tea. They issued a 
circular letter justifying their course. It was indignantly torn and scat- 
tered to the winds in Boston. The merchants of Philadelphia received 
it with scorn, and the sturdier patriots of that city said : " The old 

Liberty Pole of New York ought to be 
transferred to this city, as it is no longer 
a rallying-point for the votaries of free- 
dom at home." The students at Prince- 
ton College, with Jajues Madison at their 
head, burned the letter on the cam- 

In October (1770) John Murray, Earl 

of Dunmore, succeeded Sir Henry Moore 

as Governor of New York. He remained 

such for only about nine months, when he was succeeded by Sir William 

Tryon, an Irish baronet, who had misruled North Carolina and stirred up 

a rebellion there. The Assembly, now thoroughly imbued with Tory- 



* In Boston the mistresses of three hundred families subscribed their names to a league, 
binding themselves not to drink any tea until the Revenue Act was repealed. Three 
days afterward the young women followed their example. It was imitated in New York 
and Philadelphia. 




ism, complimented the retiring governor, wlio was transferred to Vir- 
ginia, and in a most cringing address, written by Captain Oliver de 
Lancey, replied to Tryon's opening message, at the beginning of 1772. 

The state of political society in Xew York 
at this time was peculiar. Social differences 
had produced two distinct parties among the 
professed republicans, which were designated 
respectively Patricians and Tribunes. The 
former consisted chiefly of the merchants and 
gentry, and the latter were mostly mechanics. 
The latter were radicals, the former were 
conservatives, and joined the Loyalists or 
Tories, who were trying to check the influ- 
ence of the more zealous democrats. 

Comparative quiet had prevailed in Xew 
York for nearly three years, when an attempt to enforce North's Tea 
Act set the colonies in a blaze again.* The East India Companv, who 
had the monopoly of the tea trade, 
having lost their valuable custom- 
ers in America by the operations 
of the non-importation measures, 
asked Parliament to take off three 
pence a pound levied upon its im- 
portation into America, and agreed 
to pay the Government more thau 
an equal amount in export duty, 

in case the change should be made. Here was an excellent opportunity for 
the Government to act justly and wisely and to produce a reconciliation ; 


* An event occurred in Narraganset Bay in the summer of 1772 whicli produced wide- 
spread excitement and widened the breach between the mother country and the colonies. 
Tlie armed schooner Gaspe was stationed in the bay to enforce the revenue laws. Her 
commander haughtily ordered every American vessel when passing his schooner to lower 
its colors, in token of obedience. The master of a Providence sloop refused to bow to 
this nautical Gcsler's cap, and was fired at and chased by the Oaspe. The latter 
grounded upon a sand-bar. That night Abraham Wliipple (who was a naval commander 
during the Revolution), with sixty armed men, went down the bay in boats, capturetl the 
people on the schooner and burned her. Although a large reward was offered for the 
apprehension of the perpetrators tliey were not betrayed. Four years afterward, when 
Captain Wallace, a British naval commander near Newport, heard that Whipple was the 
leader of the offenders, he wrote to him, saying : 

" On June 9th, 1773, you burned His Majesty's vessel the Gaspi, and I will hang you at 
the yard-arm !" 

To tliis Whipple instantly replied : " Sir, always catch a man before you hang him !" 



but the stupid ministry, fearing it might be considered a submission to 
"rebellious subjects,'' refused this olive branch. They allowed the 
company to send their tea free of export duty, but retained the import 

Tikis concession to a great commercial monopoly, while spurning the 
appeals of subjects governed by a great principle, created indignation 
and contempt throughout the colo- 
nies. As this would make tea 
cheaper in America than in Eng- 
land, the Government and the East 
India Company unwisely concluded 
that the Americans would not ob- 
ject to paying the small duty. They 
were mistaken, as they very soon 
learned. Assured that Governor 
Tryon at New York would enforce 
the law, the company sent several 
ships laden with tea to that and 
other American ports early in 1773. 

Already the Americans had re- 
solved not to allow a pound of tea 
to be landed in any of the seaports. 
At a meeting held at jS^ew York on 


that the tea consignees and stamp 
The consignees, alarmed, j^rom- 

October 2()th (1773), it was declared 
distributors were equally obnoxious, 
ised not to receive the tea, notwithstanding Governor Tryon had prom- 
ised them ample protection. The governor declared the tea should be 
delivered to the consignees, even if it should be " sprinkled with blood." 

John Lamb (afterward a commander 
of artillery in the war for indepen- 
dence, and one of the foremost of the 
Sons of Liberty) said to his informer 
of these words : " Tell Tryon, for 
me, that the tea shall not be landed ; 
and if force is attempted to eifect it, 
his blood will be the first shed in the conflict. The people of the city 
are finnly resolved on that head." Tryon took counsel of prudence. 

At the middle of December the famous Boston Tea Party occurred, 
when three hundred and forty-three chests of tea were taken from ships 
moored at the wharves, broken open, and their contents cast into the 
waters of the harbor in the space of two hours, by men disguised as 



Indians. Tlie next day a meeting was held in the Fields at Xew 
York, which was addressed by John Lamb.* Strong resolutions in 
favor of resistance were passed ; a Committee of Fifteen to carry on 
correspondence with the Sons of Liberty elsewhere was appointed, and 
the meeting was adjourned " till the arrival of the tea ships." 

The ships did not arrive until April following, when the Nancy, 
Captain Lockyer, appeared at Sandy Hook with a cargo of tea. Apprised 
of the state of feeling in the city, and heeding the advice of the con- 
signee, Lockyer prudently concluded to return to England with his 
cargo. A merchant vessel arrived at about the same time with several 
chests of tea concealed among her cargo. They were discovered, seized, 
and their contents were thrown into the waters of New York Harbor. 
The captain took refuge from the hands of the indignant people on 
board the Nancy, and sailed away in her. 

At about this time a new Committee of One Hundred, also a Vigil- 
ance Committee, composed of the most substantial citizens, who were wise, 
watchful, and active, was created. The governor and a majority of the 
Assembly, being in political accord, needed watching ; hence the forma- 
tion of these two committees. 

A misfortune befell the governor at this juncture which won for him 
public sympathy. At near the close of 1773 his house, with all his 
personal property, was accidentally burned. The Assembly voted him 
$20,000 in consideration of his loss, and with this money he left the 
province in charge of Dr. Colden, and went to England in the spring 
of 1774. 

The destruction of tea in Boston Harbor created intense excitonent in 
Great Britain. The exasperated ministry conceived several retaliatory 
measures, which were authorized by Parliament, the most conspicuous 
of which was an order for the closing of the port of Boston against all 
commercial transactions wliatever, and the removal of all public offices 
thence to Salem. This prostration of all kinds of business occasioned 
widespread distress and created more widespread sympathy. Even the 

* John Lamb, an artillery officer of the Revolution, was born in New York City 
Jnnuary 1st, 1735 ; died tliere May 31st, 1800. He was one of the most active Sons of 
Liberty, and when the old war for independence began he entered the military service. 
He was in command of the artillery under General Montgomery at the siege of Quebec, 
where he was wounded and made prisoner. With the rank of major he served in the 
regiment of Colonel Knox the next summer, and on January 1st, 1777, he was commis- 
sioned a colonel of New York artillery. Lamb performed good service throughout the 
war, and ended his military career at the siege of Yorktown. He afterward became a 
member of the New York Assembly. President Washington appointed him (1789) 
collector of the customs at the port of New York. 


city of London, in its corporate capacity, sent aid to the sufferers at 
Boston of the money vahie of fully $150,000. Another measure levelled 
a deadly blow at the charter of Massachusetts ; another provided for the 
trial, in England, of all persons charged in the colonies with murder 
coi^mitted in support of the Government, giving, as Colonel Barre said 
on the floor of Parliament, " encouragement to military insolence already 
insupportable." A fourth provided for the quartering of troops at the 
expense of the colonies. The port of Boston was to be closed in June, 
and in May General Gage was sent to enforce the measure. 

The people were intensely excited by these cruel measures. They 
despaired of justice at the hands of the British ministry. They began 
to feel that war was inevitable, and proceeded to arm and discipline 
themselves, and to manufacture guns and gunpowder. Every man 
capable of bearing arms enrolled himself in a company pledged to be 
ready to take the field at a minute's warning. So w^as created the vast 
army of Minute Men. Its headquarters was under every roof. It 
bivouacked in every church and household ; and mothers, wives, sisters, 
and sweethearts made cartridges for its muskets and supplied its com- 

A crowded meeting in Faneuil Hall, in Boston, resolved to resume 
the non-importation measures with all their stringency. They sent Paul 
Revere with their resolutions to the Sons of Liberty in New York, 
whom the Loyalists called " Presbyterian Jesuits." The Committee of 
Fifty-One did not approve the resolutions, but favored the assembling of 
a general congress of deputies. In their reply to the communication 
from Boston they said : 

" The cause is general, and concerns a whole continent, who are 
equally interested with you and us ; and we foresee that no remedy can 
be qf avail unless it proceeds from their joint acts and approbation. 
From a virtuous and spirited union much may be expected, while the 
feeble efforts of a few will only be attended with mischief and disap- 
pointment to themselves, and triumph to the adversaries of liberty. 
Upon these reasons we conclude that a Congress of Deputies from the 
COLONIES IN GENERAL is of the utmost importance ; that it ought to be 
assembled without delay, and some unanimous resolutions formed in this 
fatal emergency, not only respecting your deplorable circumstances [the 
destruction of all commercial business by the closing of the port], but 
for the security of our common rights." 

This recommendation for a General Congress, written, it is believed, 
by John Jay, found a hearty response everywhere. While the Bostonians 
approved the measure and suggested the time for holding the Congress, 


they adopted stringent non-importation measures. The people in other 
colonies did the same, and New York stood almost alone in refusing 
to acquiesce. At this the Loyalists rejoiced, and Rivington, the 
King's Printer, published the following lines in his Gazetteer : 

" And so, my good masters, I find it no joke. 

For York has stepped forward and thrown off the yoke 
Of Congress, committees, and even King Sears.* 
Wlio shows you liood-nature by sliowing liis eai-s. " 

At this time there were two prominent political committees in New 
York — namely, the old Vigilance Committee of Fifty and a newly- 
organized Committee of Fifty-One. The former was composed of 
radicals, Sons of Liberty, led by McDougall, Sears, and Lamb, and 
favored non-importation measures ; the latter consisted of conservatives, 
and favored a General Congress rather than non-importation measures. 

Adherents of the former called 

y^ y^ a meeting in the Fields on July 

yr ^^ ^^^^^vv?^^"^ ^^^ (1774), which, on account 

^_y^OC^t/C<y *--^ ^^^^^> of its numbers, was known as 

"The Great Meeting." On 
SIGNATURE OF ISAAC SEARS. x\\^^ occasiou a studcut of King's 

(now Columbia) College, known 
as the " Young West Indian," a delicate boy, girl-like in personal grace 
and stature, only seventeen years of age, made a speech, and astonished 
the multitude by his eloquence and logic. He was Alexander Hamilton, 
from the island of Nevis, who was destined to play an important part iu 
the drama of our national history. 

The Great Meeting denounced the Boston Port Bill and declared 
that an attack upon the liberties of one colony concerned the whole. 
The meeting pledged New York to join with others iii a non-importation 
league, and to be governed by the action of the contemplated General 
Congress. The Committee of Fifty-One denounced these proceedings 

* Isaac Sears was one of the most active and energetic of the Sons of Liberty. He was 
a native of Norwalk, Conn., where he was born in 1729 ; \m died in Canton, China, in 
1786. He was a successful mercliant in New York, engaged in the European and West 
India trade. Having commanded a merchant vessel, he was generally known as Captain 
Sears, and because of his valiant leadership in opposition to the Government he was 
called " King Sears." He was thoroughly hated, maligned, caricatured, and satirized 
by his political enemies. Rivington, the King's Printer, abused him shamefully, and 
in retaliation Sears entered the city in 1775 with some Connecticut light horsemen and 
destroyed his maligner's printing establishment. At the end of the war his business and 
fortune w^re gone. In 1785 he went, as supercai'go, to China, and died soon after his 
arrival at Canton. 


as " seditious and incendiary." This offended a dozen of their members, 
who withdrew from the committee. But these feuds were soon healed 
by the exigencies of the occasion, and the patriots of New York, early 
in July-(1T74), chose delegates to represent the province in the General 
Congress to be convened at Philadelphia on the 5th day of September, 
They chose as representatives of the city of T^ew York : Philip Living- 
ston, John Alsop, Isaac Low, James Duane, and John Jay. Suffolk 
County, on Long Island, elected William Floyd ; Orange County, Henry 
Wisner and John Herring ; and King's County, Simon Boerum. 
Duchess and "Westchester counties adopted the New York City delegates 
as their representatives ; so also did the city and county of Albany.* 

* The people of Albany County were anxious to send Colonel Philip Schuyler as their 
deputy, but he was too severely afflicted with rheumatism and hereditary gout to allow 
him to serve them. Toward the close of July his friend, Councillor William Smith, 
wrote to him from New York : " The colonies are preparing for the grand Wittena- 
gemote [Great Assembly] with great spirit. At Philadelphia a plan is digesting for an 
American Constitution. I know not the outlines of it. I hope it is for a Parliament to 
meet annually. Our people will be the last of all in the appointment of delegates. I 
wish your county would assist in the choice. Expresses will be sent through the whole 
colony to call upon the counties for the purpose. . . . The people of England begin to 
call out for an American Parliament. " 




Committees of Correspondence, wliicli liad been formed in every 
colony in 1773, liad been busy in the interchange of sentiments and 
opinions, and throughout the entire community of British-Americans 
from Maine to Georgia there was evidently a consoTiance of feeling 
favorable to united efforts in opposing the augmenting oppression of the 

mother country. And yet they 
hesitated, and resolved to deliber- 
ate in solemn council before they 
should appeal to arms — " the last 
argument of kings. " 

To this end deputies represent- 
ing twelve British-American colo- 
nies met in Carpenter s Hall, at 
Philadelphia, on September 5th, 
1774, and chose Peyton Randolph* 
president and Charles Thomson 
secretary of that body. There 
were forty-four delegates present 
on that day. Those from the 
province of New York were James 
Duane, John Jay, Philip Living- 
ston, Isaac Low and William Floyd. 
That first Continental Congress remained in session until October 
26th, during which time they matured measures for future action. One 
of the most important of these measures was the formation of a league 


* Peyton Randolph was born in 1723, in Virginia, and, lilve other young men of 
wealthy parents in the colonies, was educated in England. lie became a lawyer, and at 
the age of twenty-seven years was appointed attorney-general of the province. He went 
with a band of volunteers against the Indians on the Virginia frontier in 1756. A 
member of the House of Burgesses several years, he was its Speaker at one time. He 
was chairman of a committee to revise the laws of Virginia ; went to England to seek 
redress of grievances ; framed the remonstrance of the House of Burgesses against the 
Stamp Act ; presided over the Virginia Provincial Convention at Williamsburg in 1774, 
and the first Continental Congress the same year ; presided over the second Virginia 
Convention in March, 1775 ; was in the Continental Congress a short time that year, and 
died of apoplexy at Philadelphia, October 22d, 1775. His jwrtrait here given was copied 
from a miniature by Charles Willson Beale. 


for a general commercial non-intercourse with Great Britain and her 
West India possessions. It was named the American Association. In 
addition to its non-intercourse provisions, it recommended the abandon- 
ment of the slave-trade, the improvement in the breed of sheep, absten- 
tion from all extravagance in living, indulgence in horse- racing, etc., 
and the appointment of a sort of vigilance committee in every town to 
promote conformity to the requiremen<'s of the Association. It was 
signed by the fifty-two members who were present at its adoption. 

This first Continental Congress put forth several able State papers — a 
Bill of Eights ; an Address to the People of Great Britain ; another to 
the several British- American colonies ; another to the Inhabitants of the 
Province of Quebec, and a petition to the king. One of the most sig- 
nificant acts of the Congress, the most offensive to Great Britain, .and 
which constituted the whole business of the day, was the passage of the 
following resolution on October 8th : 

'•''Resolved, That this Congress approve the opposition of the inhab- 
itants of Massachusetts Bay to the execution of the late acts of Parliament ; 
and if the same shall be 
attempted to be carried ^,0-^ ^^ 

into execution by force, ^.^^^^r^ J^ ayyz.c^cr-t^/C^ 

in such case all America (y X 

ought to support them. signature of peyton randoXph. 

in their opposition." 

Thus defiantly was the gauntlet cast down at the feet of the king and 
Parliament. The Congress adjourned eighteen days afterward to meet 
at the same place on May 10th following, unless the desired redress of 
grievances should be obtained. 

The public press in the colonies almost unanimously supported the 
attitude assumed by the Congress. There were only four newspapers 
then published in the province of New York, and these were sent forth 
from the city. They were Hugh Gaines's New York 2lerctiry, John 
Holt's New York Journal, John Anderson's Constitutional Gazette, 
and James Rivington's New York Gazette. The first three named were 
in sympathy with the patriots. The latter favored the royal side in 
political discussions.* The Whig papers everywhere abounded in 

* Holt's Journal was the most outspoken of any of the Whig newspapers. Before the 
meeting of the first Continental Congress it contained at its head the device of a snake 
disjointed, each piece having the initials of one of the English- American colonies. He 
pleaded for its union. In December, after the session of that Congress was ended, it 
contained another significant device. It represented a column, its base resting upon 
Magna Charta and upheld by thirteen strong arms reaching out of clouds. The column 



pointed epigrams, squibs, keen satirical sonnets, and sententious argu- 
ments and logic, like the following : 


" Rudely forced to drink tea, Massachusetts, in anger. 
Spilt the tea on John Bull — John fell on to bang her ; 
Massachusetts, enraged, calls her neighbors to aid, 
And give Master John a severe bastinade. 
NoM% good men of the law, pray who is at fault, 
The one who begins or resists the assault ?" 

The proceedings of the Continental Congress produced a most pro- 
found sensation in Great Britain. When Parliament reassembled after 
the holidays (January 20th, 1775) the king denounced the American 

colonists as " rebels," and prom- 


'' ' ll li r"'" i i iir "■■• 1 1 


jjiiiijii i iijjijji i iiiiuMii. r LuijM i ..mi i iM ii ii i iiiimiiu iii n i - iMig ised ample means to bring them 

into subjection. William Pitt 
(now become Earl of Chatham) 
made a powerful speech in the 
House of Lords in favor of the 
Americans, wliich drew from that 
House a severe reprimand by a 
decided majority. Thus sup- 
ported by the king and lords, the 
ministry proceeded to put the 
engine of coercion into swift operation. Restrictive and other oppressive 
acts were passed, and war was virtually declared against the British- 
American colonists. 

Meanwhile the several colonies had expressed their approval of the 
proceedings of the Continental Congress. New York alone refused to 
do so, but finally yielded. In November, 1774, the Committee of Fifty- 
One was dissolved, and at a meeting of " freeholders and freemen," held 
at the City Hall on the 22d of that month, a committee of sixty persons 
were chosen " for carrying into execution the Association entered into 
by the Continental Congress. " 

So soon as the Congress adjourned the Loyalists and the High Church 
party in New York undertook to weaken the force of the American 

was surmounted by the cap of Liberty, 
coils, upon which were the words : 

The whole was encircled by a snake in two 

" United now, alone and free, 
Firm on this basis Liberty shall Btand, 
And thus supported, ever bless our land, 
Till Time becomes Eternity." 


Association by inducing violations of its requirements. To this end 
scholars and divines who had been engaged in the controversy concern- 
ing an American episcopate now resumed their j)ens. Among the most 
eminent of these writers on the Tory side were Rev. Myles Cooper, D.D., 
President of King's College, and Drs. Inglis, Seabury and Chandler, of 
the Anglican Church. They were ably answered by William Livingston, 
John Jay, young Alexander Hamilton, and others. It was at this time 
that the last named entered the list of political writers, and soon became 
their peer and leader. 

The first session of the New York Assembly after the adjournment of 
the Continental Congress began on January 10th, 17Y5. In it was a 



clear working majority of Tories. Colonel Philip Schuyler was the 
acknowledged leader of the opposition. He was ably supported by 
George Clinton and others, and they resolved to have the political issues 
between the people and the Government distinctly drawn and specifically 

The venerable Colden, now at the head of the provincial government, 
called the attention of the Legislature, in his message, to the " alarming 
crisis," and admonished them that the country looked to them for wise 
counsel. He was a Loyalist, but was now conservative in feeling. He 
exhorted the Assembly to discontinue all measures calculated to increase 
the public distress, and promised them his aid. The response to the 
message was drawn by Oliver de Lancey,* and took conservative ground. 

* Oliver de Lancey, a brother of Lieutenant-Governor James de Lancey, was born in 
1717 ; died in England in 1785. He possessed large wealtk and great influence. He 
adhered to the crown when the war for independence began ; was commissioned a 
brigadier-general, and raised and commanded three battalions of Loyalists. His son, 
Oliver, became a captain of cavalry, and succeeded Major Andre as adjutant-general 
under General Clinton. The De Lanceys performed efficient service for the royal cause 
in Westchester County, N. Y. At the close of the war the general, accompanied by 
his son, went to England, where the latter rose to the rank of major-general, and at the 
time of his death was almost at the head of the British army list. The elder General De 
Lancey became a member of Parliainent. His nephew, James de Lancey, commanded a 
battalion of horse in Westchester County, and because of his zeal in supplying the British 
army with cattle from tlie farms of that county, his troopers were called mio-boys. Confis- 
cation acts swept away the larger portion of the De Lancey estate in America. 


At length a question came up (January 26tli, 1775) which tested the 
"political character of the Assembly. Abraham Tenbroeck moved that 
the House should " take into consideration the proceedings of the Con- 
tinental Congress," etc. The motion was negatived by a majority of 
•only one. Notwithstanding the meagreness of this majority, the result 
gave great joy to the Tories. One of them wrote to a gentleman in 
Boston : " Worthy old Silver Locks (Lieutenant-Governor Colden), 
when he heard that the Assembly had acted right, cried out, ' Lord, 
now lettest thy servant depart in peace.' " 

Soon after these efforts -were made in the Assembly to bring it into sym- 
pathetic action with those of the other colonies, Colonel Schuyler moved 
that certain letters which had passed between the Committees of Corre- 
spondence of New York and Connecticut, and a certain letter to Edmund 
Burke (the agent in England of the colony of New York), in June, 
1774, on the subject of a general Congress, " be forthwith entered upon 
the journals of the House and supplied to the newspapers for publica- 
tion." It was rejected by a vote of 16 to 9. Colonel Nathaniel Wood- 
hull moved that the thanks of the House should be given to the dele- 
gates in the late Continental Congress " for their faithful discharge of 
the trust reposed in them." This was negatived — 15 to 9. By the 
same vote a motion to thank the merchants and otliere who had adhered 
to the non-importation and non -intercourse league was negatived. A 
motion to appoint delegates to the proposed second Continental Congress 
was lost by a vote of 17 to 0. 

The Assembly agreed, by a majority vote, that Parliament had a right 
to tax the colonies without their consent. Late in February a petition 
to the king was presented for consideration. It was so cringing in tone 
— speaking of the monarch as " an indulgent father" and the colonists 
as "infants" who had "submitted hitherto without repining" to the 
authority of " the parent" — that the manliness, the patriotism, and the 
indignation of Schuyler and his friends were thoroughly aroused to most 
vigorous opposition. Schuyler offered several amendments ; but these, 
with resolutions presented by him, were voted down. Amendments 
offered to a memorial to the House of Lords met with similar treatment. 
Finally the several papers adopted by the Assembly, though they did 
not express the sentiments of the people of the province, were ordered 
to be sent to Mr. Burke. The Assembly had been induced to send a 
remonstrance to Parliament against its harsh treatment of the colonists. 
Its terms, though mild, were so distasteful that it was not received by 

On April 3d, 1775, the Provincial Assembly of New York — a legisla- 


tive body which had existed more than one hundred years — was 
adjourned never to meet again. The people now took pubhc matters 
into their own hands. The whole continent was moving rapidly toward 
an attitude of rebelh'on and self-government. The newspapers, as we 
have observed, were tilled with exciting matter, and warlike preparations 
were observed on every side. General Gage, in command of troops at 
Boston, became alarmed, and began fortifying Boston Keck. He seized 
and conveyed to that town quantities of gunpowder founrl in neighbor- 
ing villages, and he adopted stringent measures to prevent intercourse 
between citizens of the town and the country. 

Fierce exasperation followed these impolitic measures, and it was not 
long before hundreds of armed men assembled at Cambridge. At 
Charlestown, near Boston, the people took possession of the Arsenal 
after Gage had carried off the powder. The people also captured tlie 
fort at Portsmouth, N. H., and carried off the powder. The people of 
Rhode Island seized the powder and forty cannons at the entrance of 
Newport Harbor. Similar defensive measures were taken at Philadel- 
phia, Annapolis, Williamsburg, Charleston, and Savannah. 

The Republicans of New York having failed in their efforts in the 
Assembly to procure the appointment of delegates to the second Con- 
tinental Congress, which was to convene on May 10th, nothing was left 
for them but to appeal to the people. The new general Committee of 
Sixty, temporarily exercising governmental functions and yielding to the 
pressure of popular sentiment, took measures for assembling a conven- 
tion of representatives of the several counties in the province for the 
purpose of choosing deputies to the General Congress. The Loyalists 
opposed the measure as disrespectful to the Assembly, which had refused 
to appoint delegates. 

The people, wearied of the Legislature, were now driven to a point 
where respect for authorities whose views were not in consonance 
with the spirit of liberty and free discussion was almost wholly un- 

They first rallied around the Liberty Pole (April 6th, 1775), beneath 
a banner inscribed " Constitutional Liberty," and marching to the 
Exchange, were met there by large numbers of Loyalists, led by members 
of the Council and the Assembly, with officers of the army and navy, 
who came to overawe the people. They failed. A Provincial Conven- 
tion was called, and assembled at the Exchange, forty-two in number, 
on April 20th, and chose Philip Livingston, James Duane, John Alsop, 
John Jay, Simon Boerum, William Floyd, Henry Wisner, Philip 
Schuyler, George Clinton, Lewis Morris, Francis Lewis, and Robert R. 


Livingston deputies to represent tlie province of New York in the Con- 
tinental Congress. 

On May 22d (1775) deputies from the several counties assembled in 
New York and organized a Provincial Congress, with Peter van Brngli 
Livingston, president ; Volkert P. Douw, vice-president ; and John 
McKesson and Robert Benson, secretaries.* That body assumed the 
functions of a provincial government, and utterly ignored the royal 
governor and his Council. 

The great crisis was now approaching. When, just after the adjourn- 
ment of the Provincial Convention (April 24th), news came of the tragedy 
at Lexington and Concord the public mind at New York was fearfully 
excited by that intelligence, and by the arrest of Captain Isaac Sears, 
the bold leader of the Sons of Liberty, on a charge of seditious utter- 
ances. On his way to jail he was taken from the officers by his friends 
and borne in triumph through the streets, preceded by a band of music 
and a banner. That night Sears addressed the people in " The Fields," 

* Members of the first Provincial Congress of New York, which met in the city of 
New York on May 23d, 1775 : 

For the City and County of New Tm'k. — Isaac Low, L. Lispenard, Abraham "Walton, 
Isaac Roosevelt, Abraham Brasher, Alexander McDougal, P. van Brugh Livingston, 
James Beekman, John Morin Scott, Thomas Smith, Benjamin Kissam, Samuel Verplanck, 
David Clarkson, George Folliot, Joseph Hallet, John van Cortlandt, John de Lancey, 
Richard Yates, John Marston, Walter Franklin, Jacobus van Zandt. 

For the City and County of Albany. — Volkert P. Douw, Abraham Yates, Robert Yates, 
Jacob Cuyler, Peter Sylvester, Dirck Swart, Walter Livingston, Robert van Rensselaer, 
Henry Glenn, Abraham Teubroeck, Francis Nicoll. 

For Duchess County. — Dirck Brinkerhoff, Andrew Hoffman, Zephaniah Piatt, Richard 
Montgomery, Ephraim Paine?, Gilbert Livingston, Jonathan Langdon, Gysbert Schenck, 
Melancton Smith, Nathaniel Sackett. 

For Ulster County. — Colonel John Ilardenburg, Egbert Dumond, Christopher Tap- 
pan, James Clinton, Dr. Charles Clinton, John Nicholson, Jacob Hornbeck. 

For Orange County. — John Coe, David Pye, Michael Jackson, Benjamin Tustin, Peter 
Clowes, William Allison, Abraham Lent, Jolm Haring. 

For Suffolk County. — Nathaniel WoodhuU, John Sloss Hobart, Ezra L'Hommedieu, 
Thomas Wickham, Thomas Treadwell, John Foster, James Haven, Selah Strong. 

For Richmoiid County. — Paul Micheau, John Journey, Richard Conner, Richard Law- 
rence, Aaron Cortelyou. 

For WesteJiester County. — Gouvemeur Morris, Lewis Graham, James van Cortlandt, 
Stephen Ward, Joseph Drake, Philip van Cortlandt, John Thomas, Jr., Robert Graham, 
William Paulding. 

For Kings County. — John E. Lott, Henry Williams, J. Remsen, Richard Stlllwill, 
Theodore Polhemus, John Lefferts, Nicholas Covenhoven, John Vanderbilt. 

For Queens County. — Jacob Blackwell, Joseph Lawrence, Daniel Rai>elje, Zebulon 
Williams, Samuel Townsend, Joseph Trench, Joseph Robinson, Nathaniel Tom, Thomas 
Hicks, Richard Tlione. 

For Cluirlotte. — Dr. John Williams, William Marston. 


and a few days afterward lie was elected a member of tlie Provincial 

The aroused Sons of Liberty embargoed all vessels in the harbor laden 
with provisions for the British troops in Boston. They did more ; they 
demanded and received the keys of the Custom House, dismissed the 
employes, and closed it. They also seized public arms, and placed a 
guard at the arsenal. Then they boldly proclaimed this overt act of 
treason to their brethren in other cities. General alarm prevailed, espe- 
cially among the Tories. A Grand Committee of Safety, consisting of 
one hundred of the most respectable citizens,* was organized, and a 
military association for practice in the use of fire-arms was formed. The 
Committee of One Hundred assumed the functions of municipal 

When the Provincial Congress assembled its complexion disappointed 
the people. Toryism and timidity prevailed in that body, and schemes 
for conciliation instead of measures for defence occupied the majority. 
Family influence was very powerful in the colony in every department 
of social life, and througli it the Provincial Assembly and the Provincial 
Congress were loyally inclined. The masses of the people were chiefly 
Republican in feeling, and Toryism in the Provincial Congress, hard 
pressed by popular sentiment and the influence of important events daily 
occurring, was soon compelled to yield. When it was finally crushed 
out, no province or State was more patriotic and more active in the cause 
of liberty than New York. With a population of only 1G4,000 in 1780, 

* The following are tlie names of the Committee of One Hundred : Isaac Low, chair- 
man ; John Jay, Francis Lewis, John Alsop, Philip Livingston, James Duane, Evert 
Duyckman, William Seton, William W. Ludlow, Cornelius Clopper, Abraham Bi-inker- 
hoff, Henry Remsen, Robert Ray, Evert Bancker, Joseph Totten, Abraham P. Lott, 
David Beekman, Isaac Roosevelt, Gabriel H. Ludlow, William Walton, Daniel Phoenix, 
Frederick Jay, Samuel Broome, John de Laiicey, Augustus van Home, Abraham 
Duryee, Samuel Verplanck, Rudolphus Ritzema, John Morton, Joseph Hallet, Robert 
Benson, Abraham Brasher, Leonard Lispenard, Nicholas Hoffman, Peter van Brugh 
Livingston, Thomas Marsteu, Lewis Pintard, John Imlay, Eleazer Miller, Jr., John 
Broome, John B. Moore, Nicholas Bogart, John Anthony, Victor Bicker, William 
Goforth, Hercules Mulligan, Alexander McDougal, John Reade, Joseph Ball, George 
Janeway, John White, Gabriel W. Ludlow, John Lasher, Theophilus Anthony, Thomas 
Smith, Richard Yates, Olivei; Templeton, Jacobus van Landby, Jeremiah Piatt, Peter 
S. Curtenius, Thomas Randall, Lancaster Burling, Benjamin Kissam, Jacob Lefferts, 
Anthony van Dam, Abraham Walton, Hamilton Young, Nicholas Roosevelt, Cornelius 
P. Low, Francis Ba.ssett, James Beekman, Thomas Ivers, William Dunning, John 
Berrien, Benjamin Helme, William W. Gilbert, Daniel Dunscombe, John Lamb, Richard 
Sharp, John Morin Scott, Jacob van Voorhis, Comfort Sands, Edward Flemming, Peter 
Goelet, Gerrit Kettletas, Thomas Buchanan, James Desbrosses, Petrus Byvanck, and 
Lott Embree. 


of wliom 32,500 were liable to military duty, New York had furnished 
17,780 soldiers for the Continental Army, or over 3000 more than Con- 
gress required. Even at the juncture we are considering, the Provincial 
Congress authorized the raising and furnishing of four regiments, the 
construction of fortifications at the northern end of Manhattan Island, 
and fortifications in the Hudson Highlands, 

Already the first military conquest made by the Americans in the old 
war for independence had been achieved within the province of New 
York. It was done chiefly by the proM'ess of Green Mountain Boys, 
who had so long and so successfully defied the authorities and the land 
speculators of New York. Benedict Arnold, of Connecticut, who had 
hastened to Cambridge with a military company on hearing of the aifrays 
at Lexington and Concord, proposed to the Massachusetts Provincial 
Congress the seizure of the stronghold of Ticonderoga, on Lake Cham- 
plain. He was commissioned a colonel, and authorized to raise men for 
the enterprise. Meanwhile some Connecticut people, bent on a similar 
enterprise, had repaired to Pittsfield, in Western Massachusetts, where 
they were joined by Colonels Eaton and Brown and some of their 
followers. They all went to Bennington, where Colonel Ethan Allen 
and a considerable force of Green Mountain Boys joined them. The 
whole force rendezvoused at Castleton, where they cbose Allen as com- 
mander-in-chief of the expedition. There Arnold joined the little host 
Mnth a few followers, and, by virtue of his commission, claimed the right 
to supreme command. The Green Mountain Boys objected, Arnold 
yielded. On the night of May 9tli (1775) most of the little army crossed 
Lake Champlain near Ticonderoga, and at early dawn on the 10th Allen 
and Arnold, with a considerable force, having seized the sentinel at the 
sallyport, passed through a covered way, and before they were discovered 
were on the parade within the fort. They had taken the garrison by 
surprise. Allen proceeded to the quarters of the commandant, who had 
just been awakened from his slumbers, and demanded the surrender of 
the fort. 

" By what authority do you make such a demand ?" asked the com- 
mandant, who knew Allen. 

"By the authority of the Great Jehovah and the Continental 
Congress !" said Allen, in a loud voice. Dubious about Allen's divine 
authority, the commandant nevertheless yielded, although the Con- 
tinental Congress did not exist until some hours later on that day. The 
spoils of victory comprised 120 iron cannons, 50 swivels, 2 mortars, and 
a large amount of ammunition and stores, which were used in the siege 
of Boston a few months afterward. Two days later Colonel Seth 



"Warner and some C4reen Mountain Boys took possession of Crown Point, 
a few miles from Ticonderoga, Thus, at the outset of the war, the 
Republicans gained possession of Lake Champlain and the key to 

On the day of the capture of Ticonderoga (May 10th, 1775) the second 
Continental Congress assembled at Philadelphia, and chose Peyton Ran- 
dolph president and Charles Thomson secretary. The grave questions 
arose. What are we here for ? and What are our powers ? They simply 
composed a large Committee of Conference like the Congress of 1774, 


without specifically delegated legislative or executive powers ; yet the 
common-sense of the inhabitants of the colonies represented there at that 
perilous hour, regarded them as fully invested with supreme legislative and 
executive functions. The deference paid by the provincial authorities 
of Massachusetts and New York in asking the advice of Congress about 
public affairs was a tacit acknowledgment of the supremacy of the Con- 
tinental Congress, and action was taken accordingly. That body pro- 
ceeded to issue bills of credit, create an army and navy, establish a 
postal service, and to do all other acts of sovereignty. 

* This is a view of the ruins of the famous old fort as it appeared in 1848, taken from 
the bank of the lake. The place of the covered way through which Allen and his 
followers entered the fort was at the left corner of the picture near the sheep in the fore- 


Meanwhile the patriots of New England had gathered in large numbers 
around Boston, determined to confine the British troops that occupied 
the town within the bounds of the peninsula. The battle of Bunker 
(Breed's) Hill was fought on June 17th ; a Continental Army had just 
been organized, and George Washington, of Virginia, appointed its eom- 
inander-in-ehicf ; and the Continental Congress made vigorous prepara- 
tions for the defence of liberty in America. 

Rumors reached the Provincial Congress of New York that British 
troops were corning from Ireland to occupy the city. That body, now 
somewhat purged of its Toryism by intelligence from the East, invited 
General Wooster, who was in command of a body of militia at Green- 
wich, in Connecticut, for the defence of the shores of that colony, to 
come to the protection of New York. He encamped at Harlem for 
several weeks, and sent detachments to drive off marauders on Long 
Island, who were stealing cattle for the use of the British Army at 
Boston. His presence so emboldened the patriots at New York that at 
midnight late in July they captured British stores on the eastern verge 
of Manhattan Island (foot of present Forty-seventh Street), and sent 
part of them to the American army before Boston and a part to the 
garrison at Ticonderoga. They also seized a tender belonging to the 
Asia, a British man-of-war lying in New York Harbor. 

Governor Tryon had returned to Ncav York in the Asia late in June, 
and was received with much respect ; but he soon ofiiended the Repub- 
licans. The energetic action of the Committee of One Hundred soon 
taught him to be circumspect in public, but he Avas continually engaged 
in private intrigues in fostering the spirit of Toryism in the Provincial 

Washington arrived at New York on his way to take command of the 
army at Cambridge on the same day when Tryon arrived at Sandy Hook 
(Juno 25th, 1775). This coincidence embarrassed the Provincial Con- 
gress and the municipal authorities. The public functions of the two 
men were seriously antagonistic, and their respectiv^e political friends 
were fiercely hostile. To avoid offence honors nmst be given to both. 
What was to be done ? Fortunately, these magnates did not reach the 
city simultaneously. Washington and his party, to avoid British vessels 
in the harbor, were landed at the seat of Colonel Lispenard, on the 
Hudson, about a mile above the town, in the afternoon, and were con- 
ducted into the city by nine companies of foot and a great multitude of 
citizens, where they were received by the civil authorities. The Presi- 
dent of the Congress (Philip Livingston) pronounced a cautious and con- 
servative address, to which the general replied. Governor Tryon arrived 



four hours later, and was conducted to the house of Hugh AVallace, Esq. 
The civic and military ceremonies were partially repeated in the evening, 
and all parties were satisfied. It was a memorable Sabbath dav in Kew 

The province of Kew York at this crisis presented three dangerous 
elements of weakness — namely, an 
exposed frontier, a wily and pow- 
erful internal foe (Indians and 
Tories), and a demoralizing loyalty. 
On its northern border was Canada 
with a population practically neu- 
tral on the great question at issue, 
and prone to be hostile to the 
patriots. The central and western 
regions of the province were swarm- 
ing with the Six Nations of Iroquois, 
whose almost universal loyalty had 
now been secured by the influence 
of Sir William Johnson and his 
family, while nearer the seaboard 
and in the metropolis, family com- 
pacts and commercial interests w^ere powerfully swayed by traditional and 
natural attachments to the crown. These neutralized, to a great extent, 


* Philip Livingston was one of the most energetic, upright, public-spirited, and 
esteemed business men in the province of New York at the period immediately preceding 
the Revolution ; and he was one of the most trustworthy and efficient of the supporters 
of the cause of the American patriots. He was a grandson of Robert Livingston, the 
first " Lord of the Manor." He was born in Albany in 1716, the year when the manor 
was first accorded the privilege of a representative in the Colonial Assembly. . He became 
a_ merchant, and a most energetic and thrifty one ; and he entered vigorously into the 
heated political discuasions before the old war for independence began. His business was 
in New York City, where he was alderman nine years. He represented the manor in the 
Assembly during the French and Indian War, where he had great influence as a leader 
of the patriotic party in that body, with Colonel Schuyler, Pierre van Cortlandt, Charles 
De Witt, etc. ; and corresponded much with Edmund Burke. Mr. Livingston represented 
New York in the first Continental Congress, and was on the committee that prepared 
the remarkable " Address to the People of Great Britain," which drew forth warm 
encomiums from William Pitt (Lord Chatham). He was an active member of the New 
York Provincial Congress in 1775, and earnestly supported the proposition for inde- 
pendence, signing the great Declaration. Mr. Livingston was a member of the first 
Senate of the State of New York, and also a delegate in the General Congress. When 
the sessions of that body were held at Lancaster and York his health rapidly failed, and 
he died at York on June 11th, 1778, He was one of the founders of the New York 
Society Library, of King's (now Columbia) College, and of the Chamber of Commerce. 


the influence of the few sturdy patriots who, in the face of frowns and 
menaces and the fears of the timid, kept the fires of the Revolution 
burning witli continually increasing brightness. 

The whole province of New York constituted the " Northern Depart- 
ment" of the Continental Army, Washington placed it under the 
charge of Philip Schuyler, one of his four major-generals, whose sleep- 
less vigilance caused him to be designated the " Great Eye*' of the 
department. In his instructions to Schuyler, given at New York, 
Washington admonished him to " keep a watchful eye upon Governor 
Tryon," and to use every means in his power to frustrate his designs 
" inimical to the common cause." 

Affairs on Lake Champlain demanded Schuyler's first and most earnest 
attention, for the possession of Canada by an alliance or by conquest was 
a consideration of the greatest consequence. As the inhabitants were 
French Roman Catholics, having no sympathy in religion or nationality 
with either party, they were objects of great solicitude to both. Friendly 
overtures were made to them by the colonies then in league, but imprudent 
language interfered. Had wise words and measures been adopted at the 
outset the Canadians might have been easily won to an alliance, for a 
traditional feud between the French and English had existed for a 
thousand years, and the recent conquest of Canada by the English was 
yet a cause for much irritation ; or had Congress acted promptly upon 
the suggestions of Colonels Allen and Arnold soon after the capture of 
Ticonderoga, Canada might have been easily won by conquest. The 
New York Provincial Congress thought it an " impertinent proposal 
coming from Allen, a man who had been outlawed by the authorities of 
New York." 

The two heroes (Allen and Arnold) had already on their own respon- 
sibility taken preliminary steps toward such conquest. They went down 
the lake in a schooner and bateaux with armed men, and Arnold 
captured St. Johns, on the Sorel (the outlet of the lake), but could not 
hold the prize. Again, when Arnold heard that the Governor of Canada 
had sent an armed force to St. Johns for the purpose of attempting the 
recapture of the lake forts, he proceeded without authority. to fit out, 
arm, and man with one hundred and fifty persons all the vessels he <;ould 
lay his hands upon, and, as self-constituted commodore, he took post at 
Crown Point and awaited the coming of the foes. They did not come. 
This was the first Continental Navy. It was put afloat in New York 
waters before the middle of June, 1775. 

Colonel Allen and his lieutenant, Seth Warner, appeared before the 
Continental Congress at Philadelphia, and on the floor of the House he 


revealed to the members, in quaint phrases and with slow speech, the 
state of affairs on the northern frontier, and urged the importance of an 
immediate invasion of Canada before the small British force there should 
be increased. He asked for authority to raise a new regiment of Green 
Mountain Boys for that service. His words so deeply impressed the 
members that on June ITtli they 

'^liesolved, That it be recommended to the Convention of New Tork 
that they, consulting with General Schuyler, employ in the army to be 
raised for the defence of America those called ' Green. Mountain Boys,' 
under such officers as the said Green Mountain Boys shall choose." 

Allen and Warner soon appeared in JSTew York and craved an audience 
with the Provincial Congress. Their errand produced much embarrass- 
ment. How could members treat with men who had recently been pro- 
claimed outlaws ? Debates ran high, when Captain Sears moved that 
" Ethan Allen be admitted to the floor of the House." The motion was 
adopted by a large majority. The old fend was instantly healed, and 
the Congress decreed that a regiment of Green Mountain Boys, five 
hundred strong, should be raised. 

Already Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, had sent troops to 
Ticonderoga, under Colonel Hinman, who held the chief command there 
until superseded by General Schuyler. The military force then in the 
province did not exceed three thousand men fit for duty, and yet prepa- 
rations were made in New York for an invasion of Canada. The visit of 
Allen and Warner had quickened the perceptions of the Continental 
Congress of the necessity of such an invasion, and on June 27th that 
body ordered General Schuyler, if he should " find it practicable and 
not disagreeable to the Canadians, immediately to take possession of 
St. Johns and Montreal, and pursue such other measures in Canada as 
might have a tendency to promote the peace and security of these prov- 
inces" — in other words, to undertake an armed invasion of Canada. 




General Schuylek had accompanied Wasliington from Philadelphia 
to New York. When lie arrived at Albany early in July he found the 

aspect of affairs in Northern New 
York dark and unpromising to the 
Republican cause. 

Sir William Johnson,* who had 
taken sides with the crown in the 
political movements of the time, 
had died the previous aut*iimn. His 
mantle of almost unbounded influ- 
ence over the Indians of the Mohawk 
Valley and beyond had fallen upon 
his energetic son-in-law. Colonel 
Guy Johnson, who succeeded him 
as Superintendent of Indian Affairs. 
Sir William's son John inherited 
the title and estates of the baronet, 
and was at that time earnestly en- 
gaged in keeping Toryism actively 
alive in the Mohawk Yalley. He 
had been appointed, in 17T4, brigadier-general of the militia of Tryon 
County, which extended west of Albany County almost indefinitely. 
These successors of Sir AVilliam, especially Guy, professed peaceable 


* Sir William Johnson was a conspicuous character in the later period of the colonial 
history of New York. He was a native of Ireland, where he was born in 1715. Educated 
for a merchant, an unfortunate love affair changed the tenor of his life. He came to 
America to take charge of landed propert}'^ in the region of the ^loliawk Valley belonging 
to his uncle, Admiral Sir Peter Warren. His good treatment of the Indians made him a 
favorite with them. He built a fine mansion (j'et standing), which he called " Johason 
Hall," and there the village of Johnstown, in Fulton County, now flourishes. He 
married a pretty German girl, by wliom he had two children, a son (afterward Sir John 
Johnson) and a daughter. By his housekeeper, Mary Brant, the sister of Brant, the 
celebrated Mohawk chief, he had eight children. She lived with him until his death in 
1774. When the French and Indian War broke out Johnson wa.s appointed sole agent 
of Indian affairs in the province of New York, and managed the bu.siness most judi- 
ciously. The king granted him 100,000 acres of land in the Mohawk Valley. He lived 
on his domain in his fine mansion in rude baronial splendor. 



intentions, but the movements of the latter had been so suspicious for 
some thne that tlie patriotic citizens of Tryon County were filled with 

Guy Johnson was holding a council, in the spring of 1775, with the 
Indians at his house* (near the 
present village of Amsterdam), on 
the Mohav\'k, when news from 
Lexington and intimations that he 
was about to be arrested so alarmed 
him that he hastily adjourned the 
council, first to the German Flats 
and then to Fort Stanwix, now 

Rome. He had taken his family with liim. He soon pushed onward 
to the heart of the country of the fierce Cayugas and Senecas, and at 
Ontario (according to tradition) he called a great council of the Six 



Nations. He was accompanied by Brant (whose sister had been the 
concubine — the wife, according to Indian customs — of Sir William) as 

* This house, substantially built of stone, is yet standing on the north side of the 
Mohawk River, a mile from the village of Amsterdam, in Montgomery County. Sir 
William Johnson had an equally strong mansion, two stories in height, with a high 
peaked roof, wherein he resided twenty years before he built Johnson Hall. It is yet 
standing, about three miles west of Amsterdam. It was fortified and called " Fort 



Ills secretary ; also by Colonel John Butler and his son Walter, who was 
afterward engaged in bloody forays njjon the defenceless white inhab- 
itants of the Mohawk region. 

The council at Ontario, at which about fourteen hundred barbarians 
were assembled, was satisfactory to Colonel Johnson. Thence he went 
to Oswego and invited representatives of the Six Nations to meet him in 


(From a sketch made in 1848.) 

council there, to " feast on a Bostonian and to drink his blood " — in other 
words, to eat a roasted ox and to drink a pipe of win«.* Tlie council 
was held ; and at the conclusion Johnson, with a large number of 
Iroquois chiefs and warriors, crossed Lake Ontario, went down the St. 
Lawrence to Montreal, and entered the British military service. They 
were chiefly Mohawks under Brant. 

* Some doubt has been expressed by a late investigator (Mr. A. McF. Da\Ts) as to tu>o 
conferences in the summer of 1775, as Ontario and Oswego were names sometimes applied 
to the same place at the mouth of the Oswego River by writers at that day. There was 
a place in the Seneca country on the borders of Lake Ontario called " Ontario," where a* 
conference may have been held, as stated in the text. 

f Johnson Hall, yet standing upon a gentle eminence about three fourths of a mile 
north of the court-house in the village of Johnstown, Fulton County, was built about the 
year 1760 by Sir William Johnson, and was, probably, the finest mansion in the province 
of New York at that time. The main building is of wood, clapboarded in a manner to 
represent blocks of stone. It is forty feet wide, sixty feet long, and two stories high. 
The detached wings, built for flanking block-houses, are of stone. The walls are very 
thick, and pierced near the eaves for musketry. One of these was recently x'emoved. 


While Guy Johnson was thus forming an active alliance of many of 
the tribes of the Six Nations (and especially the Mohawks) with the 
British in Canada, Sir John Johnson remained at Johnson Hall, the seat 
of Sir William, which he had fortified, exerting an equally powerful 
influence in a more quiet way in favor of the crown as a military leader 
and as a manorial i3roprietor over a large number of Scotch retainers, 
who were all Loyalists. 

So was inaugurated the coalition with the British of Indians and Tories 
in New York, whose atrocious deeds in the Mohawk region gave it the 
name of " The Dark and Bloody Ground." 

The Continental Congress now perceiving the necessity of securing the 
neutrality if not the alliance of the Indians, established a Board of Com- 
missioners of Indian Affairs in three departments. General Schuyler, 
Major Joseph Hawley, Turbutt Francis, Oliver Wolcott, and Volkert 
P. Douw were appointed commissioners for the Northern Department. 
Through this Board Congress addressed earnest and friendly " talks" to 
the Six Nations, entreating them not to engage in the contest. " This 
is a family quarrel between us and Old England," they said. "You 
Indians are not concerned in it. We do not wish you to take up the 
hatchet against the king's troops. We desire you to remain at home 
and not join on either side." 

Had a like humane and discreet policy governed the councils of the 
British Ministry many a horrible deed the record of which stains the 
annals of the period might never have been committed. 

Tionderoga, or Ticonderoga, was made the point of rendezvous for 
the troops designed for the invasion of Canada. Schuyler was there at 
the middle of July. Only a handful of meanly-clad and poorly-fed 
armed men were there, under the command of Colonel Hinman, among 
whom insubordination was the rule. Brigadier-General Richard Mont- 
gomery, Schuyler's second in command, had been left at Albany to 
receive and discipline troops that might arrive until the commissariat at 
Ticonderoga should be in an efficient condition. 

It had been agreed that Connecticut should furnish men and New 
York supplies. Both were tardy in performance, and the summer was 
almost ended before there was a sufficient force fairly equipped at 
Ticonderoga to warrant Schuyler in ordering an advance toward Canada. 
Washington, in command of the Continental troops before Boston, gave 
all aid to the enterprise in his power, and when the movement began he 
sent Colonel Arnold with over a thousand men across the wilderness of 
Western Maine to co-operate in efforts to seize Quebec. 

The Provincial Congress of New York was almost powerless to act. 


*' You cannot conceive," wrote its president to General Schuvler in 
August, " the trouble we have with our troops for want of money. To 
this hour we have not received a shilling of the public money. Two of 
our members have been at Philadelphia almost a fortnight Avaiting for 
the cash. Our men insist on being paid before they march, not their 
subsistence only, but also their billeting money. Perhaps no men have 
been more embarrassed than we." 

This inability was called indifference by some and disaffection by 
others, and drew forth ungenerous reflections. " That Congress," 
wrote Samuel Mott to Governor Trumbull from Ticonderoga, " are still 
imsound at heart. They make a great noise and send forward a few 
officers to command ; but as to soldiers in the service, I believe they are 
not more than one hundred and fifty strong at all the posts this side of 
Albany." And Major Brown, then on a mission in Canada, wrote to 
the same gentleman : " The New Yorkers liave acted a droll part, and 
are determined to defeat us if they can." 

Schuyler had sent Major Brown, an American and a resident on the 
Sorel, into Canada for information. At the middle of August he reported 
that there were seven hundred regular troops in Canada, of whom three 
hundred were at St. Johns ; that five hundred Tories and Indians under 
Sir John Johnson were near Montreal trying to persuade the Caughna- 
wagas to join them ; that the French Canadians, restive under British 
rule, were generally disposed to remain neutral, and that he believed the 
conquest of Canada, if undertaken at once, might easily be achieved. 

Schuyler now resolved to push forward as speedily as possible. Troops 
and supplies were coming forward. The Provincial Congress of New 
York was using every effort to furnish its one thousand men. Four 
regiments were organized under the respective commands of Colonels 
McDougal, Yan Schaick, Clinton, and Holmes, and Captain John Lamb 
was authorized to raise a company of artillery one hundred strong, to be 
attached to McDougal's regiment. The Committee of Safety of New 
Hampshire sent to the gathering army on the lake three companies, under 
Colonel Bedel, who were accustomed to the woods and well acquainted 
with Canada. But the Green Mountain Boys were tardy in forming 
their regiment. 

Toward the close of August the troops at Ticonderoga moved down 
the lake nnder the command of Generals Montgomery* and Wooster, 

* Richard Montgomery was born in the north of Ireland in 1786 ; entered the British 
Army ; assisted in the capture of Quebec in 1759 ; was in the campaign against Havana 
with General Lyman, and, retxirning to New York, he made that city his residence. He 
went to England, sold his commission in 1772, came back, and bought a beautiful estate 



and took post at Isle aux Noix, on tlie Sorel, a few miles above St. 

Johns. There Schuyler joined them. He had been in attendance upon 

his duty as Commissioner of Indian Affairs in holding a conference with 

representatives of the Six Nations 

at Albany. Tlie troops remained 

at Isle aux Noix until the middle 

of September, when Schuyler, 

prostrated by illness, transferred 

the chief command to Montgomery 

and returned to Ticonderoga. 

On the day of Schuyler's de- 
parture (September 25th) Mont- 
gomery advanced upon the fort at 
St. Johns with about a thousand 
men without artillery, and began a 
siege on the 18th. The garrison, 
commanded by Colonel Preston, 
maintained a vigorous resistance for 
more than a montli. The fort was 
surrendered to Montgomery on 
November 3(1, 1775. 

During the siege small detachments from Montgomery's force went 
out upon daring enterprises. Colonel Ethan Allen had joined the little 
patriot army. At the head of eighty men, at the suggestion of Colonel 
John Brown, who was to co-operate with him, he pushed across the St. 
Lawrence to attack Montreal. Brown failed to co-operate. Allen was 
defeated, made prisoner, and was sent to England to be tried for treason, 
but was exchanged in May, 1778. Montgomery took Montreal. 

General Montgomery wrote to the Continental Congress : " Until 
Quebec is taken Canada remains unconquered." Impressed with this 
idea, he lost no time in pressing toward Quebec in the face of terrible 
discouragements — inclement weather, the desertion of troops, hostility 
of the Canadians, and a lean commissariat. Frost was binding the 
waters, snow was mantling the whole country, and the rigors of a 
Canadian winter menaced him. 


on the east bank of the Hudson, in Duchess County, and soon afterward married a 
daughter of Robert Livingston. He espoused the patriot cause ; was commissioned a 
brigadier-general, and joined General Schuyler in the expedition to conquer Canada in 
1775. He was in chief command of the troops that captured St. Johns and Montreal, 
and laid siege to Quebec. In an attack upon that city he was killed. There is a fine 
memorial monument to his memory on the front of St. Paul's Church, New York City. 



Twenty miles above Quebec Montgomery met Arnold (December 
lltli) with a shattered remnant of his followers, tattered and torn, who 
had been driven from before the city, when woollen suits brought from 
Montreal were placed upon their shivering limbs. The united forces 
stood upon the Plains of Abraham, before Quebec, on December 
1st, and demanded the surrender of the city. A scornful refusal 
was followed by a siege which lasted three weeks. It was carried on 
with a few light cannons and mortars mounted upon brittle ice redoubts, 
the men exposed to almost daily snow-storms in the open fields. 

On the early morning of the last 
day of the year 1775 the little be- 
sieging army attempted to take 
Quebec by storm. The force was 
divided. One portion was led by 
Montgomery on the St. Lawrence 
side of the town ; the otlier portion 
was led by Arnold on the St. 
Charles side. They were to meet 
and attempt a forced entrance into 
the city through Prescott Gate at 
Mountain $treet. Just before 
dawn, while he was pressing for- 
ward at the head of the New York 
troops in the face of a blinding 
snow-storm, Montgomery was killed 
by a grape-shot from a masked bat- 
tery at the foot of Gape Diamond. 
Arnold had been wounded and sent to a hospital. After a further strug- 
gle the British made a sortie through Palace Gate and captured the whole 
of Arnold's division. Arnold, now in chief command, retreated a few 
miles up the St. Lawrence, and for a while blockaded the garrison at 
Quebec. He was soon succeeded in command by General Wooster,* 
who came down from Montreal. 

DAVID W008Tp;U IN 1758. 

* David Wooster was born at Stratford, Conn., March 2d, 1710, and was educated at 
Yale College. He performed excellent military service among provincial forces before 
tlie Revolution. He wsis colonel of a Connecticut regiment, and became a brigadier- 
general in the French and Indian War. He was with Allen and Arnold at the capture of 
Ticonderoga in 1775 ; was in command in Canada, with the commission of a brigadier- 
general, in the spring of 1776, and on his return was made first major-general of Con- 
necticut militia. Opposing the invasion of his State in the spring of 1777, he was fatally 
wounded in a skirmish at Ridgefield, and died on May 2il. 



General Schuyler had just Iieard of the death of Montgomery, when 
he was called up the Mohawk Yalley to disarm the Tories of Tryon 
County. It was evident that Sir John Johnson and his retainers were 
preparing for an active armed alliance with the British in Canada. 
Schuyler, acting under instructions from the Continental Congress, called 
for seven hundred militia to assist him. The response was marvellous. 
Before he reached Caughnawaga on the Mohawk, a few miles from 
Johnson Hall, he had three thou- 
sand armed followers, including 
nine hundred of the Tryon County 

By appointment Schuyler met 
the baronet at the late residence 
of Guy Johnson, on the Mohawk, 
from whom he demanded, as terms 
of peace, the immediate cessation 
of all hostile demonstrations ; the 
surrender of all arms, ammunition, 
and stores in the possession of 
Johnson ; the delivery to him of 
all the arms and accoutrements 
held by the Tories and Indians, and 
Sir John's parole of honor not to 
act inimically to the patriot cause. 
Sir John was compelled to comply with the terms, and gave his pledge.^ 

On January 19th (1776) the expedition under Schuyler was at Johns- 
town, where the arms and military stores were delivered up, and at noon 
the next day nearly three hundred Scotch Highlanders laid down their 
arms before a line of armed militia in the streets of Johnstown. The 
Mohawks meanwhile had remained neutral. With six Scottish chiefs 
and more than one hundred Tory prisoners, and some heavy guns as 
trophies, Schuyler marched back to Albany. He had disarmed between 
six and seven hundred Tories, conciliated the Mohawks, and diluted 


* Sir .John Johnson was born in 1742 ; died at Montreal June 4th, 1830. In 1774 he 
was appointed major-general of the New York militia. He was an active Tory and 
British partisan during the old war for independence, and produced great distress among 
the patriotic inhabitants of the Mohawjc Valley by participation Avith the Indians on their 
destructive forays with his " Royal Greens," a partisan corps. He went to England, but 
returned in 1785 and resided in Canada, where he was made Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs. He was also a member of the Legislative Council of Canada. To compensate 
him for his losses, the British Government made him grants of land in Canada. 


the loyalty of some of the most prominent leaders among the Six 

During the summer and fall of 1775 stirring events occurred in the 
city of New York. The course of Governor Tryon was so evidently 
hostile to the Republican cause that the Provincial Congress, now 
governed by the popular will, and perceiving a resort to arms to be 
inevitable, ordered Captain John Lamb, then recruiting an artillery com- 
pany, to take the cannons from the fort and the grand battery to a place of 
safety. With a small military force and a body of citizens led by Cap- 
tain Sears, he went to the Battery at nine o'clock in the evening (August 
25th) and began the task. A bullet was sent among the people from a 
barge filled with armed men from the Asia, which was concealed near 
by. A volley was returned, and the barge, bearing several men killed 
and wounded, hastened back to the Asia. That vessel immediately 
hurled three cannon shots ashore in quick succession. Lamb ordered the 
drums to beat to arms. The church-bells rang out an alarum ; and 
while all was confusion and fear broadside after broadside of grape-shot 
from the Asia was fired upon the town, injuring several houses ;* but 
no life was sacrificed. Believing that the town was to be sacked and 
burnt, hundreds of men, women, and children were seen at midnight 
hurrying away with their light effects to places of safety in the suburbs. 
Yet the patriots at the Battery stood firm, and in the face of the can- 
nonade from the Asia every gun was removed. There were twenty-one 
iron IS-pounders and some smaller cannons. 

The conduct of the commander of the Asia caused intense exaspera- 
tion among the patriots, and Governor Tryon, taking counsel of 
prudence and his fears, sought refuge from the wrath of the people on 
board a British ship-of-war in the harbor. From that aquatic " palace" 
he attempted to rule the province. There his Council joined liim.f 
But royal authority was at an end at New York forever. 

Rivington, the loyal printer, had changed the name of his newspaper 
to the lioyal Gazette, and was using his great influence as a journalist in 

* Among tlic houses injured at tliat time was the tavern of Samuel Fraunce, a West 
Indian by birth, and of such a dark complexion that he was familiarly known as " Black 
Sam." His house was on the corner of Broad and Pearl streets. Freneau, in his 
"Petition of Hugh Gains," makes that time-serving journalist say, in alluding to the 
cannonade of the Asia : 

"At first we stijiposed it was only a gliain. 
Till he drove a round ball through the roof of. Black Sam." 

f The members of his Council who joined him were : Oliver de Lancey, Hugh Wallace, 
William Axtelle, John Harris Crugcr, and James Jauncey. 



fostering Toryism in the province. He abused the Sons of Liberty 
(especially Captain Sears) in his paper without stint. Fired by personal 
insult and patriotic zeal, Sears went to Connecticut, and at noon on a 
bright day in Kovember (2oth) he entered the city at the head of seventy- 
five light hoi-semen, proceeded to the printing establishment of Riving- 
ton* at the foot of Wall Street, placed a guard around it, put the type 
into bags, destroyed the press 
and other appurtenances, and 
then rode out of the city amid 
the shouts of the populace and 
to the tune of Yankee Doodle. 
The type was cast into bullets 
Rivington finding New York 
too hot for him, fled to England, 
but returned the next year, when 
British troops held possession of 
the city, and resumed the publi- 
cation of his Gazetteer. 

Notwithstanding this action 
and the aggressive zeal of the 
Republicans, disaffection to their 
cause extensively prevailed 
throughout the province of 
New York during the winter 
of 1775-76. In Queens County, 

on Long Island, many of the people began to arm in favor of the crown, 
and from his floating refuge in the harbor Governor Tryon kept up a 
continual correspondence with Mayor Matthews, Oliver de Lancey, and 
other Loyalists on shore. The Continental Congress as vigorously 
opposed his influence, and took measures to disarm the Tories every- 
where, while Washington, besieging Boston, kept a vigilant eye upon all 
that might harm the colony of New York. 


* James Rivington, the "King's printer" in New York, was a native of England. 
Failing in business as a bookseller in London, he came to America in 1760 and opened a 
book-store in Philadelphia. He opened another the following year at the foot of Wall 
Street, in New York. He printed books, and in 1773 he began the publication of the 
Jiffyal Gazetteer, a weekly newspaper. After the Revolutionary War began he took 
strong ground in favor of the crown, and so continued until the close of the contest. It 
seems to be a well- attested fact that Rivington played false to the Royalists, and furnished 
much information to Washington. He, an apparent Anti-Loyalist, was permitted to 
remain in the city unmolested when, at the evacuation in 1783, hundreds of lesser sinners 
were compelled to flee. He died in July, 1802, at the age of seventy-eight years. 


"When, in January, 1776, Sir Henry Clinton, witli a considerable force, 
sailed from Boston, Washington, believing New York to be liis destina- 
tion, sent General Charles Lee thither, instructed to gather a force on 
his way and take a position to defend that city. With marvellous 
rapidity Lee collected about twelve hundred men and encamped with 


them in " The Fields" on the verge of the city, in spite of the protests 
of the Committee of Safety, who had been made timid by a threat of the 
commander of the Asia that he would bombard the town if " rebel 
troops" were allowed to enter it. Lee made liis headquarters at No. 1 
Broadway and issued a proclamation, in which he said : 

" I come to prevent the occupation of Long Island and the city by the 
enemies of liberty. If the ships-of-war are quiet I shall be quiet ; if 
they make my presence a pretext for firing upon the town, the first house 
set in flames by their guns shall be the funeral-pile of some of their best 

At these brave words the Tories shrunk into inactivity ; the Provincial 
Congress felt a glow of patriotism, and measures were immediately 
adopted for fortifying the city and the approaches to it, and garrisoning 
it with two thousand mon."^' Sir Henry Clinton arrived at Sandy Hook 
on the day when Lee entered the city. Informed of Lee's presence, he 
sailed southward. Lee followed by land, leaving the little army at New 
York in charge of Lord Stirling. In June following Lee and Clinton 
were in conflict in Charleston Harbor. 

Washington prosecuted the siege of Boston with as much vigor as cir- 
cumstances would allow, and in March, 1776, he drove General Ilowe 
and his troops from the town literally into the sea. He allowed them to 
evacuate Boston (March 17th) and to sail away quietly and unmolested, 
accompanied by a large number of Loyalists, wlio fled before the indig- 
nation of a multitude of Whigs whom they had persecuted for months. 

* For a description of the fortifications thus erected, see Lossing's Pictorial Field Book 
of the Eewlution, Vol. II., p. 593, note. 



Howe sailed for Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the following summer lie 
appeared witli a large armed force before New York City, borne thither 
in a fleet commanded by his brother, Lord Howe, and took possession of 
Staten Island. 

Suspecting Howe had sailed for New York, Washington, with a larger 
j)art of his army, hastened to that 
city immediately after the evacuation 
of Boston, and held it until Sep- 

Durino- the heats of the summer 
Washington made his headquarters 
at Richmond Hill, far " out of 
town," with the bulk of his army 
encamped near by. Tryon w\as yet 
at his floating headquarters in the 
Duchess of Gordon Avar-ship plot- 
ting, plotting, plotting with his 
friends on shore for the ruin of the 
Republican cause. He formed a 
plan for the murder of Washington 
and his principal ofiicers, or for their 
arrest and transportation to England 

to be tried for treason, and the capture of the troops on Manhattan 
Island. He sent money ashore freely for purposes of bribery. The 
Life Guard of Washington* was tampered with, and two of them were 
seduced from their fidelity. To one of them, an Irishman named 
Hickey, was intrusted the task of destroying Washington. He knew 
that his commander was very fond of green peas, and he resolved to 


* Washington's Life Guard was organized in the autumn of 1776 on Harlem Heights, 
and consisted of one hundred and eighty picked men, first commanded by Caleb Gibbs, 
of Rhode Island, with the rank of captain. William Colfax was the last commander. 
The special service of the Life Guard was to guard the headquarters of the commander- 
in-chief, but they were never spared in battle. The last survivor of Washington's Life 
Guard was Uzal Knapp, who died in the town of New Windsor, Orange County, N. Y., 
in January, 1857, when he was a little more than ninety-seven years of age. He was a 
native of Stamford, Conn., and was a sergeant in the Guard. Over his grave near Wash- 
ington's Headquarters at Newburgh is a handsome mausoleum of brown freestone, made 
from designs by H. K. Brown, the sculptor. 

The sketch on the following page of the banner of the Guard was copied from one in the 
museum at Alexandria, Va., in 1848, deposited there by George Washington Parke Custis. 
The figure of the guardsman shows the uniform of the Guard. It consists of a blue coat 
with white facings, white waistcoat and breeches, black half gaiters^ a cocked hat with a 
blue and white feather. The banner was white silk. 



slay him by poison mixed in a dish of them to he set before him at 

Ilickey tried to make tlie general's lionsekeeper, a faithful maiden, an 
accomplice in the deed by placing the poison in the peas. She pre- 
tended to favor his plans. At the appointed time for j^lacing the savory 
dish before the general Ilickey watched her movements through a half- 
opened door. The general made some excuse for ordering the dish 
away without tasting the peas. The girl had forewarned him. Hickey 
was arrested, found guilty, and hanged on a tree (June 28th, 1776) in 
the presence of fully twenty thousand people. It was the first military 
execution in the Continental Army. Mayor Matthews and more than 

twenty others were ar- 
rested on suspicion of 
complicity in the plot, 
but only Ilickey suffer- 
ed. The plot was traced 
directly to Try on as its 

At this juncture the 
Continental Congress, 
now become a permanent 
body, sitting at Phila- 
delphia, were engaged 
in the discussion of a 
most important matter. 
The people in general 
mitil lately had not ex- 
pressed a desire for po- 
litical independence of 
Great Britain. There 
were a few who had warmly advocated it for some time. At the be- 
ginning of 1776 Thomas Paine, an English radical living in Philadelphia, 
put forth a powerful pamphlet, at the suggestion of Dr. Rush, in whicli 
he pleaded earnestly for independence. It was termed Common Sense. 
In terse, sharp, incisive, and vigorous sentences bristling with logic, he 
embodied the sentiments of reflecting men and women throughout the 

" Independence," he said, " is now the only bond that will keep us 
together. We shall then be on a proper footing to treat with Great 
Britain. . . . Every quiet method for peace hath been ineffectual. 
Our prayers have been rejected with disdain. Reconciliation is now a 



fallacious dream. Bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touch- 
stone of nature ; can you hereafter love, honor, and faithfully serve the 
power that hath carried fire and sword into your land ? Ye that tell us 
of harmony, can you restore us to the time that is past ? The blood of 
the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, ' ' Tis time to part. ' The 
last chord is now broken ; the people of England are now presenting 
addresses against us. A government of our own is a natural right. Te 
that love mankind, that dare oppose not only tyranny but the tyrant, 
stand forth ! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. 
Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia and Africa hath long 
expelled her ; Europe regards her like a stranger ; and England hath 
given her warning to depart. Oh, receive the fugitive and prepare an 
asylum for mankind !" 

The effect of this pamphlet \vas marvellouSc It carried dismay into 
the enemy's camp. One hundred thousand copies were sent broadcast 
over the land, and produced an almost universal desire for independence 
among the people, for its trumpet tones awakened the continent and 
mad.e every patriotic heart thrill with joy. It gave expression to a 
feeling that already filled the hearts of the people and was waiting for a 

Very soon legislative bodies began to move in the matter. North 
Carolina was the first colony that took positive action. It authorized its 
delegates in Congress to " concur with those of other colonies in declar- 
ing independence." Other colonies did the same. Others permitted 
their deputies to do so, and still others refused assent and were silent. 
Among the latter were New York, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

At length the Continental Congress moved in favor of independence, 
satisfied that the people were ripe for it. In April they recommended 
the several provincial assemblies to form State governments. General 
letters of marque and reprisal were granted, and the American ports 
were opened to all nations excepting the British. Finally on June 7th, 
on motion of Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia (seconded by John 
Adams, of Massachusetts), the Congress resolved that the colonies were, 
and of right ought to be, free and independent States, and that all 
political connection between them and the State of Great Britain was, 
and ought to be, dissolved. 

The consideration of this resolution was deferred, and a committee was 
appointed to draw up a formal declaration of causes for the action. The 
resolution was debated from time to time for nearly a month. It was 
adopted on July 2d by the unanimous vote of the colonies (not of the 
representatives), and on July 4th the Declaration, written by Thomas 


Jefferson, was adopted by the same vote. Tlie Declaration was signed 
on the same day by all the members who voted for it, when it was 
printed and sent out in every direction bearing the signatures of only 
John Hancock, president, and Charles Thomson, secretary. It was 
engrossed on parchment and signed afterward. 

Toward evening on July 9th the Declaration of Independence was 
read to a brigade of the Continental Army in New York City, which 
was drawn up in a hollow square on the site of the City Hall. Wash- 
ington was present. The Declaration was read in a clear voice by one 
of his aides. At early twilight the excited populace, citizens and 
soldiers, were led to the Bowling Green, where they attached ropes to 
the equestrian statue of George HI. erected there, as we have observed, 
in 17Y0 (see page 199), and man and horse were pulled headlong to the 
ground. The statue, made of lead, was broken into fragments, and a 
large portion of it was cast into bullets which were afterward used by 
the Continental soldiers. "So," wrote a contemporary, "the British 
had melted majesty hurled at them." 

A sudden change in action now appeared in the newiy-elected Pro- 
vincial Congress of New York. A large British force, just landed on 
Staten Island, was menacing the city. The Congress adjourned to 
White Plains, in Westchester County, and reassembled there on July 
9th. They emphatically approved the Declaration of Independence,* 
and changed the title of their body to " Convention of Representatives 
of the State of New York," though the State was not yet organized. 
That measure was then under consideration. 

It was now clearly manifest that the province of New York was to be 
the theatre of the first great effort to crush the " rebellion" in accord- 
ance with a plan devised by the British Ministry the year before, and 
which had been partially revealed. It contemplated the seizure of New 
York and Albany, and to strongly garrison both cities ; to declare all 
persons " rebels" who should oppose the royal troops ; to take possession 
of the Hudson and East rivers with small armed vessels, and so to form 
a strong line of military power between New England and the rest of 
the colonies, extending from Manhattan Island through the valleys of 

* The Declaration was referred to a committee, of wliicli John Jay was cbairman. 
He almost instantly reported the following resolution, which was adopted : 

''BcHolved, unanimously, That the reasons assigned by the Continental Congress for 
declaring these united colonies free and independent States are cogent and conclusive, 
and that, while we lament the cruel necessity wliich has rendered the measure unavoid- 
able, we approve the same, and will, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, join with the 
other colonies in supporting it." 



the Hudson to Canada ; to retake the forts on Lake Champlain, and 
with regulars, Canadians, Tories, and Indians, easily make destructive 
irruptions into IS'ew England and Pennsylvania. This would secure a 
safe communication between Quebec and New York, separate and 
weaken the most important colonies, and make the subjugation of all the 
colonies an easy task. This plan was devised by the ministry after the 
battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill, and was made known to members of 

.^^|A 4; 4 




the New York Provincial Congress by a letter from London during that 

The Continental Congress, satisfied that such a plan of subjugation 
was to be attempted, perceived the necessity of forming an alliance with. 
Canada or achieving its conquest, and in the spring of 1776 Dr. Franklin, 
Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, were sent into thut 
province invested with extraordinary powers. They were accompanied 
by Eev. John Carroll, a Roman Catholic priest. They were authorized 
to regulate all military matters in the Republican army there ; to treat 
with the Canadians as friends and brethren ; to organize a republic 
there, and to admit Canada into union with the colonies they represented. 

The commissioners were cordially received at Montreal,* but circum- 

* The commissioners were entertained at New York by Lord Stirling, and set sail up 
the Hudson in a sloop furnished by him for the purpose at five o'clock p.m. , April 2d, 1776. 
They came to anchor off the upper end of Manhattan Island, and lay there twenty-four 
hours because of a heavy north-east storm. They proceeded, and had a perilous voyage 


stances rendered their mission futile. The British Government had 
hired thousands of soldiers from petty German princes to assist in enslav- 
ing its subjects in America. Some of these, under the command of 
General de Iliedesel, with British re-enforcements commanded by Sir 
John Burgoyne, arrived at Quebec early in May (1776), and very soon 
the little Republican army in Canada, sorely smitten with the scourge 
of small-pox, was driven out of that province. 

General John Thomas, a brave and skilful officer, had been sent by 
Washington to take command of the Kepublican troops in Canada and 
attempt a retrieval of losses there. He reached the camp near Quebec 
late in April (1776). The arrival of British re-enforcements there com- 
pelled him to retreat up tlie St. Lawrence. lie continued his retreat to 
the Sorel, where he died of small-pox, when the command devolved 
upon General Sullivan. That officer struggled bravely with fate, but 
was compelled to yield to a superior force. With the shattered remnant 
of the Republican army he retreated to Crown Point. Of five thousand 
troops gathered there, poorly clad, fed, and sheltered, fully one half 
were sick early in July. The Northern army had lost, by death and 
desertion, fully five thousand men. 

So ended in disaster that remarkable invasion. The incidents of its 
execution rank among the most startling and romantic in the annals of 

We have observed that Sir John Johnson gave his parole of honor to 
remain quiet. Early in May (1776) Schuyler was informed that Sir 
John, with Brant and others, was holding conferences with the Indians 
and inciting them to war, and that the baronet was preparing to make 
hostile movements in Tryon County wuth his Scotch retainers and the 
barbarians. Colonel Elias Dayton, a judicious officer, was sent with a 
competent force to Johnstown to arrest the baronet and take him to 
Albany, with his Scotch retainers and their families. AA^lien Dayton 

through the Highlands, for the storm continued. When it abated they sailed with a fair 
wind and pleasant weather to Albany, where they were hospitably entertained by General 
Schuyler. Charles Carroll wrote : " He lives in pretty style ; has two daughters (Betsy 
and Peggy), lively, agreeable, black-eyed gals. " "Peggy" became Mr.s. (Patroon) Van 
Rensselaer, and "Betsy" Mrs. General Hamilton. The general conveyed them first to 
his country-seat at Saratoga, and thence to Ijake George, where he had prepared for them 
a stout bateau. They crossed the lake among floating ice. Their bateau was drawn 
over to Lake Champlain (four miles) by six yoke of oxen. There the commissioners 
embarked on it and voyaged to St. Johns, at the foot of the lake, and thence, by land, 
to Montreal in caUches — two-wheeled vehicles. 

* For a more minute account of this invasion, see Lossing's Life and Time^ of Philip 


arrived the baronet had fled to the forest, and Lady Johnson assured 
him that her husband was on his way to Niagara with his retainers, and 
that his enemies would '' soon hear where he was." 

Lady Johnson was a spirited woman, a daughter of John Watts, one 
of the king's provincial councillors. Dayton informed her that measures 
would be taken to frustrate her husband's designs, and that she must 
accompany him to Albany. She was then conveyed thither, where she 
was treated with all the delicacy due to her sex and her social position. 
She was retained there some time as a hostage for the good behavior of 
her husband. 

Sir John and his followers did not go to Niagara, but started for the 
St. Lawrence. They suffered intensely from weariness and starvation 
on the way, and reached that river in a wretched plight some distance 
above Montreal. The baronet was immediately commissioned a brig- 
adier-general in the British service. lie raised two battalions — a total 
of one thousand men — composed of his immediate followers and other 
American loyalists who followed his example in deserting their country, 
and these formed that active and formidable corps known in the frontier 
warfare of that period in Northern and Central New York as the 
^' Royal Greens." 



An arrangement had been made by the British Cabinet to attack the 
Americans in 1776 simultaneously at three points. Sir Henry Clinton 
was to invade the Soutliern colonies ; General Sir John Burgoyne was to 
clear Canada of the " rebels ;" and General Howe, with the main army of 
thirty thousand men, including twelve thousand Germans, was to seize 
and occupy New York City, and thence form a junction with Burgoyne 
at Albany, 

At the close of June General Howe arrived at Sandy Hook from 
Halifax with a large army, in transports, and on July 8th landed nine 
thousand troops on Staten Island, where he awaited the arrival of his 
brother, Admiral Lord Howe, with British regulars and some of the 
German hirelings. 

Sir Henry Clinton joined Howe on the lltli with troops from Charles- 
ton, S. C, where they had co-operated with Admiral Sir Peter Parker's 
fleet in an unsuccessful attack upon Fort Moultrie, on June 28th. That 
conflict raged furiously about ten hours, when the terribly shattered fleet 
withdrew, and the seaworthy vessels sailed with the army for Sandy 

Admiral Howe arrived at Sandy Hook on the 12tli, and very soon 
other vessels came with German mercenaries. When August arrived 
nearly thirty thousand veteran soldiers stood ready to fall upon the 
Kepublican army (who were mostly militia, and nearly one fourth of 
them sick and unfit for duty), then occupying the city of New York, 
under the immediate command of Washington. 

General Howe and his brother appeared in the twofold character of 
peace commissioners and as military commanders empowered to make 
war. They were authorized to treat for peace, but only on the condition 
of absolute submission on the part of the Americans. They were also 
authorized to grant pardons and amnesty to penitents. Tliey made a 
most silly blunder at the outset in endeavoring to open negotiations with 
Washington by sending him a letter addressed to " George Washington, 
Esq." The general refused to receive it unless addressed to him by his 
military title. This the commissioners were instructed not to do ; also 
not to recognize the Congress in an official capacity. Howe's adjutant- 
general (Major Patterson) was sent with another communication. It was 


not received, but ]ie was admitted to the presence of Washington. He 
expressed a hope that reconciliation might be effected, and said the com- 
missioners had large powers. " Thej have power only to grant pardon," 
said Washington. " The Americans are only defending their rights as 
British subjects, and have been guilty of no act requiring pardon," he 
continued. Here ended the interview. 

Admiral Howe, who was personally acquainted with Dr. Franklin and 
most sincerely desired reconciliation, wrote to that gentleman on his first 
arrival. The doctor's reply satisfied the earl that his Government mis- 
apprehended the temper of the American people, and that Franklin 
expressed the sentiments of the Continental Congress when he wrote at 
the conclusion of his letter: " This war against us is both unjust and 
unwise ; posterity will condemn to infamy those who advised it ; and 
even success will not save from some degree of dishonor those who 
voluntarily engage in it. " Here the commissioners paused in efforts to 
negotiate, and prepared immediately to strike the " rebellion" an 
effectual blow. 

Already British ships-of-war had run up the Hudson River past 
American batteries, and were menacing the country in the rear of Man- 
hattan Island with the intention of keeping open a free communication 
with Canada and facilities for furnishing arms to Tories in the interior. 
In the city of IS^ew York a majority of the influential inhabitants were 
active or passive Tories. The provincial authorities were yet acting 
timidly. In this exigency Washington appealed to the country. It 
was nobly responded to by the farmers of Connecticut, New York, 
Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, where harvest-fields needed 
them, and very soon they swelled the army at New York to about seven- 
teen thousand effective men. 

Both parties now prepared for an inevitable conflict. Hulks of vessels 
were sunk in the channel of the Hudson opposite the height on which 
Fort Washington was built. Fort Lee was erected on the Palisades 
beyond the river. Batteries were constructed at various points on 
Manhattan Island, and troops under the command of General Greene 
were sent over the East River to erect fortifications on Long Island back 
of Brooklyn. Greene was soon prostrated by fever, and resigned the 
command to General Sullivan, who had lately come from Lake Cham- 
plain. Small detachments were placed on Governor's Island and at 
Paulus's Hook (now Jersey City), and some militia were posted in lower 
Westchester County under General James Clinton to oppose the landing 
of British troops on the shores of Long Island Sound. Sullivan placed 
guards at several passes through a range of M^ooded hills on Long Island 


extending from the Narrows to Jamaica. Late in August the Ameri- 
cans had a h'ne of defences extending from (present) Greenwood Cem- 
etery to tlie Navy Yard, a distance of nearly two miles. Tliese were 
armed with twenty cannons, and there was a strong redoubt with seven 
great guns on Brooklyn Heights. 

On August 26th from twelve to fifteen thousand British troops were 
landed at the western end of Long Island. Washington immediately 
sent over a small re-enforcement to the Americans near Brooklyn, placed 
General Putntim in chief command on Long Island, and ordered General 
Sullivan to command the troops outside the lines. On that evening the 
British began an advance in three divisions. Their left, under General 
Grant, moved along the road nearest New York Bay ; their right, under 
Sir Henry Clinton and Earl Cornwallis, accompanied by Howe, moved 
toward the interior of the island, and their centre, composed of Germans 
and led by General De Ileister, advanced by Flatbush. The British had 
then afloat in adjacent waters ten ships of the line, twenty frigates, some 
bomb-ketches, and almost three hundred and fifty transports. The 
American troops on Long Island did not exceed eight thousand in 

Informed that his pickets at the lower pass below Greenwood had been 
driven in, Putnam sent General Lord Stirling with some Delaware and 
Maryland troops to confront the enemy. He unexpectedly met a large 
force. Planting his only two cannons upon a wooded height (" Battle 
Hill " in Greenwood), he waited for the coming enemy, to give battle. 

Meanwhile the Germans were pushing forward to force their way 
through the Flatbush Pass (now in Prospect Park, its place marked by 
an inscription), while Clinton and Cornwallis were eagerly pressing on to 
gain the Bedford and Jamaica passes. The latter had been neglected b}' 
Putnam, and having no defenders, Clinton easily seized it. AVhile 
Sullivan was defending the Flatbush Pass against De Ileister, the 
baronet with a strong force descended from the woods and attacked the 
Americans there on flank and rear. Sullivan attempted to retreat to the 
American lines, but failed, and with a large portion of his men he was 
made a prisoner. 

Stirling and his party were now the only Americans in the field with 
unbroken ranks. They fought Grant's column with spirit for four 
hours. Then Cornwallis descended the Port or Mill Road with the bulk 
of Clinton's column and fell upon Stirling. The latter ordered a 
retreat, but the bridge over Gowanus Creek was in flames and the tide 
was rising. There was no alternative but to wade the creek. lie 
ordered one half of his troops, with some German prisoners, to cross the 



muddy channel, while he and tlie rest should fight Cornwallis. Stirling 
was finally overcome and was made a prisoner."^ By uoon the victory 
for the British was complete. The Americans had lost about five hun- 
dred men killed and wounded, and one hundred and eleven made prisoners. 
The victors encamped in front of the American lines and prepared to 
besiege them. 

Washington, who had beheld these movements wdth great anxiety, 
crossed the river on» the morning 
of the 28th, and was rejoiced to 
find the British encamped and de- 
laying an attack until their fleet 
should co-operate with them. He 
at once conceived a plan for the 
salvation of his imperilled little 
army. He resolved to attempt a 
retreat across the river to New 
York under the shadow of the 
ensuing night. Providentially a 
dense fog which overspread both 
armies at midnight and covered the 
whole region gave him essential 
aid. It did not disperse until after 
sunrise the next morning, when, 
under its sheltering wing and un- 
suspected by the British, the whole American army had passed the 
stream in boats and bateaux, carrying everything with them except- 
ing heavy cannons. AVashington and his staff, who had been in the 
saddle all night, remained on the Brooklyn side of the river until the 
last boat-load had departed. 

Immediately after the battle General Howe again proposed to treat 
for peace. This was a reason for his delay in attacking the American 
camp. He sent a verbal message to the Continental Congress, whose 


* William Alexander (Lord Stirling) was born in New York City in 1720, a son of 
Secretary Alexander, of New Jersey. Attached to the commissariat of the British Army 
in America, he attracted the notice of General Shirley, who made him his private secre- 
tary. He went to Scotland in 1755, and unsuccessfully presented his claim to the 
Earldom of Stirling. It was generally believed that his claim was just, and he ever after- 
ward bore the empty title of " Lord Stirling," in America. In 1776 he was commissioned 
a brigadier-general in the Continental Army, and served with distinction during the war 
then begun. He married a daughter of William Livingston, of New Jersey. He was 
one of the founders of the New York Society Library and King's (now Columbia) 
College. Lord Stirling died June 15th, 1783. 


authority he had been instructed not to recognize, proposing an informal 
conference with any jDcrsons wlioni that body might appoint. Congress 
consented, and early in September Dr. FrankHn, John Adams, and 
Edward Kutledge met Howe at a liouse on Staten Island opposite 
Amboy, known as the " Billop House."* The meeting was friendly, 
but barren of expected fruit. Howe could not meet the three gentle- 
men as members of Congress, but only as private citizens ; and he 
informed them that the independence of the colonies would not be 
considered for a moment. The gulf between them was impassable, and 
the conference soon ended. 

The disaster on Long Island disheartened the American army, and 


hundreds deserted and went home. General insubordination prevailed, 
and the army was weakened by the practice of many vices. Drunken- 
ness was very common, and licentiousness poisoned the regiments. The 
outlook was extremely gloomy, and it was determined to take the sick 
and wounded to Kew Jersey, the military stores up the Hudson to 
Dobbs Ferry, abandon the city, and establish a fortified camp on 
Harlem Heights, near Fort Washington, toward the upper part of 
Manhattan Island. f 

* Tins liouse was the residence of Captain Christopher Billop, formerly of the British 
Navy. It was now abandoned by the family. It stood upon high ground opposite Perth 

f Washington, in his retreat from the city to Harlem Heights, made his headcjuarters 
for a day or two at the home of Robert Murray on (present) Murray Hill, where he gave 
instructions to Captain Nathan Hale, who had volunteered to visit the British camp on 
liOng Island, in disguise, and obtain information. While on that business Hale was recog- 
nized and exposed. He was arrested, sent to Howe's headquarters at Turtle Bay, East 
River (at Forty-scventh Street), and hanged as a spy by the notorious provost-marshal, 


General Howe was indolent and fond of sensual j)leasures. Procras- 
tination marred many of his plans. When he found the Americans had 
escaped he leisurely prepared to invade Manhattan Island in the rear of 
the American army there. Before he was ready to do so that army 
was so strongly intrenched upon Harlem Heiglits that they delied him. 
Washington made his headquarters at the home of his companion-in-arms 
on the field of Monongahela, Roger Morris, which is yet standing. 

After various menacing movements had heen made, a strong British 
force crossed the East River (September 15th) from Long Island and 
landed at Kip's Bay, at the foot of (present) Thirty-fourth Street, under 
cover of a cannonade. The American guard there fled, but were soon 
rallied. So long delayed were the movements of the British toward the 
Hudson River that Putnam, who had been left in the city with a few 
troops, was enabled to escape to Harlem Heights. 

On the following day some British infantry and Scotch High- 
landers, led by General Leslie, encountered some Connecticut Rangers 
and a force of Virginians, under Colonel Knowlton and Major Leitch, 
on Harlem Plains. They fought desperately until Washington sent 
some re-enforcements, when the enemy was forced back to tlie high rocky 
ground at the upper end of Central Park. This affair greatly inspirited 
the Americans, though they were compelled to mourn the loss of Colonel 
Knowlton and Major Leitch. 

General Robertson was now sent with a considerable force to take 
possession of the city, where the British intended to make their com- 
fortable winter quarters. While his forces were reposing in their tents 
on the hills not far northward of the town, at midnight (September 
20th-21st) huge columns of lurid smoke arose above the houses. It was 
soon followed by arrows of flame that shot upward. A terrible con- 
flagration was begun. It broke out, by accident, in a low groggery and 
brothel at Whitehall, and as most of the Whig inhabitants had fled from 
the city, there were few to check the flames excepting the soldiers and 
the sailors from the ships in the harbor. About five hundred buildings 
were consumed, including Trinity Church, on Broadway. 

Howe, re-enforced by troops from Great Britain and more Germans, 
under the command of General Knyphausen, resolved to gain the rear 
of Washington's army, which he dared not attack in front. The 

Cunningham, who exercised the greatest cruelty toward the unfortunate young man. His 
last words were, as he stood under the tree upon which he was hanged, with a rope 
around his neck : " I only regret that I have but one life to give to my country." Hale 
is justly regarded as a martyr to human liberty. Andi'e, who suffered for the same 
offence, was the victim of his own ambition. 


Germans had come in seventy vessels, and numbered about ten thousand 
men, swelling Howe's forces to about thirty-five thousand. On October 
12th Howe embarked a large portion of his army in ninety flat-boats and 
landed them on a low peninsula of the main of "Westchester County. 
"Washington sent General Heath to confront the invaders and check 
their movements toward his rear. 

Perceiving his peril, Washington called a council of war, when it was 
resolved to evacuate Manhattan Island and take position on the Bronx 
River in "Westchester, to meet the invaders face to face, or secure a safe 
retreat to the Hudson Highlands. Leaving a garrison of nearly three 
thousand men in Fort Washington, under Colonel Magaw, the army 
withdrew, and, marching up the valley of the Bronx, formed intrenched 
camps from the heights of Fordham to White Plains. Washington 
made his headquarters near White Plains village on the 21st. General 
Greene commanded a small force which garrisoned Fort Lee, on the 
west side of the Hudson. 

After almost daily skirmishing the two armies, each about thirteen 
thousand strong, met in battle array near the village of White Plains on 
October 28th. The strongest position of the Americans was behind 
breastworks upon Chatterton's Hill, a lofty eminence on the right side 
of the Bronx opposite the village. 

Howe's array advanced in two divisions, one led by Sir Henry Clinton, 
and the other by Generals De Heister and Erskine. Howe was with 
the latter. A hurried council of war was held by these ofiScers on 
horseback, when some troops, under cover of a heavy cannonade, pro- 
ceeded to build a rude bridge over the Bronx. Over tbis British troops 
crossed and drove the Americans from Chatterton's Hill. The Repub- 
licans retreated to their intrenched camp nearer the village, M'^here they 
remained unmolested until the night of the 31st. _ Howe dared not 
attack the apparently formidable breastworks of Washington's intrench- 
ments, which were really composed chiefly of cornstalks slightly covered 
with earth. The Americans withdrew in the night to a strong position 
on the heights of North Castle, five miles farther north. The British 
did not pursue. Washington with his main army crossed the Hudson 
and encamped between Fort Lee and Hackensack, in New Jersey. He 
left Genera] Lee in command of a strong force at North Castle, with 
instructions to follow him into New Jersey if necessary, and he put 
Heath in command in the Hudson Highlands. 

Isolated Fort Washington, standing upon the highest land on the 
island, overlooking and commanding the Hudson River, between One 
Hundred and Eighty-first Street and One Hundred and Eighty-sixth 



Street, was the next point of attack bj the British nnder Howe. It 
was a five-sided earthwork, two hundred and thirty feet above tide- 
water, a mile north of Washington's former headquarters at the Roger 
Morris home. It mounted thirty-four great guns, and it was defended 
by several outlying redoubts and batteries on the north and south, 
extending across the island between the Hudson and Harlem rivers. 

Howe procrastinated as usual, and it was the middle of November 
before he attacked Fort Washington. On the morning of the 16th he 
put t"^oops in motion for a simultaneous assault at four difiFerent points. 


They crossed the Harlem River under cover of a cannonade. The troops 
were led, respectively, by General Knyphausen (who commanded the 
Germans), Lords Percy and Cornwallis, General Mathews, and others. 
Before noon the occupants of supporting redoubts and batteries were 
driven into the fort. At one o'clock in the afternoon it had been 
surrendered, and the British flag was waving over it. Its name was 
changed to Fort Knyphausen.* Twenty-six hundred men became 
prisoners of war, and many of them were long sufferers in the loathsome 
prisons of New York and the more loathsome prison-ships afloat in the 
surrounding waters. f 

* On the day of the final attack, Washington, with Generals Putnam, Greene, and 
Mercer, crossed the river, ascended the heights, and went to the abandoned mansion of 
Roger Morris, where the commander-in-chief had established his headquarters on Harlem 
Heights. From that point they took a hasty view of the scene of operations, and hastily 
departed. Within fifteen minutes after they left the mansion the British Colonel Sterling 
with his victorious troops took possession of it. 

f Among the most notable of these prison-ships was the hulk of the Jersey, which was 
moored at the Wallabout, now the site of the Navy Yard at Brooklyn. It was called 
' ' hell afloat. ' ' A greater portion of its inmates were captive American sailors. The 
most wanton outrages were suffered by the poor victims. The number of deaths in this 


Washington, satisfied that Howe would now turn his attention to the 
Federal City (Philadelphia), where Congress was sitting, ])repared to 
hasten to its defence. Fort Lee was abandoned, but before its stores 
could be removed Cornwallis had crossed the Hudson with six thousand 
men, and was rapidly approaching it. The garrison fled to the camp 
near Hackensack, and then began Washington's famous retreat across 
New Jersey, pursued by Cornwallis, to the Delaware River. 

The British were now in full possession of the city of Kew York and 
Manhattan Island, and held them more than seven years. The Pro- 
vincial Congress of New York became migratory. Driven from the city 
in August (1776), they sat a short time at Harlem, then at Kingsbridge, 
White Plains, the Philipse Manor, Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, and finally at 
Kingston, in Ulster County. There they remained until their final 
dissolution on the establishment of a State Government, in the spring 
and summer of 1777. 

While the important military events just recorded were occurring in 
Southern New York near the sea, others of great importance were 
occurring in Northern New York near the bordei-s of Canada. A large 
British and German force were in the latter province under the general 
command of Sir John Burgoyne, and were united with troops under 
General Guy Carleton, the Governor of Canada, in preparation for 
executing the plan for the severance of New England from the other 
colonies, already mentioned. This gave the Continental Congress and 
their constituents great anxiety, and in June the Congress sent General 
Horatio Gates to take command of the Republican army in Canada, 
independent of General Schuyler's control. 

When Gates arrived in Albany he was thus first informed that the 
army %vas out of Canada, and the remnant of it was at Crown Point. 
He hastened thither, took command of that remnant, and proceeded to 

"hell" was frightful. Starvation, fever, and even suffocation in the pent-up air at 
night made a fearful daily sacrifice of human creatures. Every morning there went 
down the hatchway from the deck the terrible cry, "Rebels, turn out your dead !" 
Then a score of dead bodies covered with vermin would be carried up by tottering half 
skeletons, their suffering companions, when they were taken to the shore and lightly 
buried in the sands of the beach. Such was the fate of eleven thousand American 
l^risoners during the war. 

The cruelties inflicted by Cunningham, the brutal provost-marshal, who had the general 
supervision of American prisoners in New York City, were terrible, lie seemed to be 
acting independent of the military officers. In his confession before his execution in 
England for a capital crime, he said : " I shudder to think of the murders I have been 
accessory to, with and without orders from Government, especially wliile in New York, 
during which time there were more than two thousand prisoners starved in the different 
buildings used as prisons, by stopping their rations, which I sold !" 



construct a flotilla of armed vessels to oppose the advance of the British. 
General Arnold was appointed commander-in-chief of the flotilla, and 
by the middle of August (1776) ten vessels, large and small, were ready 
for service. Meanwhile the British were busy in the construction of an 
armed flotilla at St. Johns, on the Sorel, 

Toward the close of August the impatient and impetuous Arnold was 
permitted to go down the lake to meet the foe, but instructed not to go 
beyond (present) Rouse's Point, on the boundary-line between New 
York and Canada. He soon found liimself in a perilous position, and 
fell back some distance. In the course of a few weeks his flotilla was 
increased, and early in October he was in command of a fleet composed 
of three schooners, two sloops, 
three galleys, eight gondolas, and 
twenty-one gun-boats, bearing an 
aggregate armament of sixty-seven 
cannons and ninety-four mortars, 
and manned by about five hundred 

Ignorant of the strength of the 
naval armament preparing at St. 
Johns, and unwilling to meet a 
superior force on the broad lake, 
Arnold committed the foolish blun- 
der of arranging his vessels in a 
line across the comparatively narrow 
channel between Valcour Island 
and the western shore of the lake, 
a few miles below Plattsburg. His 

flag-ship M'as tlie schooner Royal Savage, twelve guns. There he was 
attacked by a formidable flotilla, manned by many veterans of the Royal 
Navy, on the morning of October 11th. It was commanded by Captain 
Pringle in the Inflexible, though the expedition was under the supreme 
command of General Carleton, who was with the fleet, with British and 
German officers and troojjs. A severe action ensued, which continued 
almost five hours. Arnold and his men fought desperately. His vessel 
grounded and was burned by the enemy, but the crew were saved. 
Night closed upon the scene, when neither party was victorious. 

The two fleets anchored within a few hundred yards of each other. 

* Copied from a water-color sketch found by the writer among the papers of General 
Philip Schuyler in 1856. It settled the important question, What was the device on the 
" Union flag" hoisted over the American camp at Cambridge on January 1st, 1776 ? 



Arnold determined to retreat to Crown Point that night. Anticipating 
such a movement, the British flotilla was anchored in a line across the 
lake to intercept his vessels. The night was intensely dark, heavy 
clouds having gathered over the sky. At ten o'clock the Americans 
weighed anchor, and with a stiff breeze from the north the whole flotilla 
passed through the British line unobserved. The astonished enemy 
gave chase the next morning. Calms and head winds ensued, and it was 
not until the morning of the 13th that the fugitives were overtaken. 
Then another desperate fight ensued for several hours. One of the 
American vessels (the Washington) was captured, and General "Water- 
bury and her crew were made prisoners. Arnold was on the Congress. 
When she became shattered almost to a wreck he ran her ashore, with 
other vessels, a few miles below Crown Point, set them on fire, and 

General Carleton, with Generals Burgoyne and Riedesel (the latter 
the commander of the Germans), who accompanied the expedition, took 
possession of Crown Point and held it about a fortnight, but refused to 
attempt to recapture Ticonderoga. The whole British force sailed down 
the lake early in November, and went into winter quarters in Canada. 
Burgoyne soon afterward returned to England. At the end of 1776 
Lake Champlain was really at the mercy of the British, and the Ameri- 
cans had lost all territory acquired since Allen took Ticonderoga. 

Early in the struggle British cruisers kept the j^eople on the Xew 
England coasts in a state of continual alarm. One of them bombarded 
and burnt Falmouth (now Portland), in Maine, and other depredations 
were committed by British armed vessels. The Continental Congress, 
perceiving the necessity for meeting this exigency, took measures for 
creating a navy. At near the close of the year they ordered a consider- 
able number of armed vessels to be built. Esek Hopkins, of Rhode 
Island, was appointed the chief naval commander, and in February 
(1776) he sailed from the Delaware with a little squadron to oppose Lord 
Dunmore, the fugitive royal governor of Virginia, who was devastating 
the shores of that province. On January 1st (1776) he had burned 
Norfolk. Hopkins went on to the Bahama Islands, seized Nassau, and 
carried off one hundred cannons and a large quantity of stores. The 
Continental Navy was never powerful, but numerous privateers author- 
ized by Congress performed efficient service. 

Two of the vessels of war ordered by Congress were built at Pough- 
keepsie, on the Hudson, by Van Zandt, Lawrence & Tudor, who estab- 
lished a " Continental Ship Yard " there. These were the Congress^ 
twenty-eight guns, and the Montgomery^ twenty-four guns. These 


naval constructors were also einplojed in building the boom composed 
of timbers and iron chains across the Hudson at Anthony's Nose, at the 
southern entrance of the Highlands. It was constructed by command of 
the Committee of Safety appointed by the Provincial Congress. It was 
completed in the spring of 1777.* 

Tlie military disasters in different parts of New York were partially 
counterbalanced by brilliant achievements of American soldiers in New 
Jersey, in the early winter of 1776-77, In the race for the Delaware 
River between Washington and Coruwallis the former won ; but impor- 
tant places — Newark, Brunswick, Princeton, and Trenton — fell into the 
hands of the invader. The little army of Washington continually 


diminished during his flight across New Jersey, and when he reached 
the Delaware and crossed the river into Pennsylvania he had scarcely 
three thousand soldiers left. Republicans in New Jersey seemed para- 
lyzed in the presence of the British army. Washington had urged Lee 
to join him with the troops left at North Castle, but he would not do 
so ; and after the little army had crossed the Delaware that officer, who, 
it is now known, was a traitor to the cause, allowed himself to be made 
a prisoner in New Jersey and taken to New Tork. 

The procrastinating Howe, feeling sure that he could now capture 
Philadelphia at any time, ordered Cornwallis to defer the crossing of the 
river until it should be sufficiently frozen to allow the troops to move 

* The boom consisted of a heavy iron chain borne by strong floats. A more powerful 
boom was stretched across the river from West Point to Constitution Island. The chain 
was buoyed by logs about sixteen feet in length sharpened at each end, so as to offer little 
resistance to the tides. To these logs the chain was firmly fastened. Several links of the 
chain may be seen at West Point surrounding a mortar. The links are made of iron bars 
two inches and a half square and a little more than three feet in length. Each weighed 
about one hundred and sixty pounds. 


over upon the ice. Tliej were cantoned along tlie New Jersey side of 
the river from Trenton to Burlington. A detachment of Germans 
under Colonel Rail and some British light horse were stationed at 
Trenton ; and so confident were the British that the inchoate republic 
was ruined, that Cornwallis prej)ared to return to England, When Rail 
sent to General Grant for re-enforcements, the latter said to the mes- 
senger : " Tell the colonel he is very safe. I will undertake to keep the 
peace in New Jersey with a corporal's guard." 

Dark, indeed, was the aspect of public affairs for the Republicans at 
that moment. The frightened Congress had fled from Philadelphia to 
Baltimore. The public mind was despondent. Recruiting for the army 
seemed impossible. Terms of service of the soldiers were about to 
expire, and the army was reduced to seventeen hundred men. Yet 
Washington, knowing the cause to be just, and relying upon Omnipo- 
tence, never lost hope. At that gloomy hour he conceived a masterly 
stroke of military skill. Liberal bounties were offered for recruits, and 
brought them. Lee's division, under Sullivan, joined him. So, also, 
did regiments from Ticonderoga. The Pennsylvania militia turned out 
with considerable alacrity, and the spell-bound people of New Jersey 
began to recover their senses. 

Thus strengthened, Washington resolved to recross the Delaware and 
smite the enemy at Trenton. lie chose Christmas night for the enter- 
prise, knowing that a large portion of the Germans would probably be 
disabled by their holiday indulgences. 

In a storm of sleet the Americans, two thousand strong, with twenty 
cannons, crossed the Delaware at night on flat-boats amid thin floating 
ice, and hoped to reach Trenton before daylight. They could not. 
The German guards at the outskirts of the village, surprised, were 
driven in, and gave an alarm. The drums beat to arms, and very soon 
Colonel Rail and his disordered troops were in the streets. In the sharp 
skirmish that ensued Rail fell, mortally wounded. Ilis troops, panic- 
stricken, broke and fled in confusion, but were intercepted by some 
Pennsylvania riflemen under Colonel Hand and made prisoners. The 
light horse escaped. The victory was complete. As a prudential 
measure Washington innnediately recrossed the river with his captives 
and spoils. 

The British were astounded, and fell back from the Delaware. Wash- 
ington's ranks were rapidly filled. Congress had clothed him with the 
powers of a dictator. He recrossed the Delaware (December 30th), 
took post at Trenton with about five thousand men, and resolved to act 
on the offensive. Cornwallis returned to New Jersey, and the British 


and German troops were concentrated at Princeton, only ten miles 

On January 2d (1777) Cornwallis, with a strong force, moved against 
Washington from Princeton. At Trenton they had some skirmishing, 
when each party encamped for the night upon opposite sides of a small 
stream. Expecting re-enforcements in the morning, Cornwallis felt 
sure of his prey. But Washington, with his troops, moved secretly 
away after midnight, and before sunrise he was engaged in battle near 
Princeton with the reserved troops who had started to re-enforce Corn- 
wallis. The battle was short, sharp, and decisive. The brave General 
Hugh Mercer was mortally wounded, and many other American officers 
were slain on that snowy field. 

When the astonished Cornwallis found that his anticipated prey had 
escaped, and he heard the booming of cannon at Princeton, he hastened 
back ; but not a " rebel " was found there. They had won a victory 
and passed on, and made their way to Morristown, in the hill country of 
East Jersey, where Washington established his winter quarters. 



Two ver}'' important events occurred witliin tlie domain of New York 
during the year l'T77, namely : (1) Tlie framing of a constitution for the 
government of tlie Commonwealth and the establishment and organization 
of an independent State government ; (2) A formidable invasion of the 
State by British troops from Canada, under the command of Lieutenant- 
General Sir John Burgoyne. 

The final movement in their migrations by the Provincial Congress, 
or, rather, the " Convention of Representatives of the State of New 
York," as that body was now called, occurred in February, 1777, when 
they adjourned from Pouglikeepsie to Kingston. In April, the pre- 
vious year, the Continental Congress resolved, " That it be recommended 
to the several Assemblies and Conventions of the United Colonies, where 
no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs hath hitherto 
been established, to adopt such a government as shall, in the opinion of 
the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and 
safety of their constituents in particular, and of America in general." 

This was a bold but cautious step in the direction of independence. 
The people of New York, though Toryism was yet rife among them, 
favored the recommendation of Congress by a large majority, and pro-^ 
ceeded to elect a new Convention.* It assembled at White Plains in 

* At that time the State was divided into fourteen counties — namely, New York, Rich- 
mond, Kings, Queens, Suffolk, Westchester, Duchess, Orange, Ulster, Albany, Tryon, 
Charlotte, Cumberland, and Gloucester. The last two counties formed a part of the 
(present) State of Vermont. The following are the names of the members who were 
present at the session at Kingston and assisted in the formation of a State government for 
New York : 

New York City. — John Jay, James Duane, John Morin Scott, James Beekman, Daniel 
Dunscomb, Robert Harper, Philip Livingston, Abraham P. Lott, Peter van Zandt, 
Anthony Rutgers, Evert Bancker, Isaac Stoutenburgh, Isaac Roosevelt, John van Cort- 
landt, William Denning. 

Albany. — Abraham Ten Broeck, Robert Yates, Leonard Gansevoort, Abraham Yates, 
Jr., John Ten Broeck, John Taylor, Peter R. Livingston, Robert van Rensselaer, 
Matthew Adgate, John I. Bleecker, Jacob Cuyler. 

BxichesH. — Robert R. Livingston, Zephaniah Piatt, John Schenck, Jonathan Landon, 
Gilbert Livingston, James Livingston, Henry Schenck. 

Ulster. — Christopher Tappen, Matthew Rea, Matthew Cantine, Charles De Witt, 
Arthur Parks. 



July, for the double purpose of framing a State Constitution and of exer- 
cising all the powers of government until that duty should be performed. 

On August 1st (1TT6) the 
Convention appointed a commit- 
tee to prepare a Constitution. 
Mr. Jay was made chairman of 
the committee. The exigencies 
of public affairs, iu which he 
was deeply engaged, caused con- 
siderable delay in their work, for 
almost the entire labor devolved 
upon him. The draft, in the 
handwriting of Mr. Jay, was sub- 
mitted to the Convention on 
March 12th, 1777. That body 
were then sitting at Kingston, in 
a substantial house built of blue 
limestone, on the corner of Main 
and Fair streets, which is yet 
(1886) standing. It was one of 

the few houses spared by the torches of British incendiaries who burned 
Kingston in the autumn of the same year. 

Westchester. — Pierre van Cortlandt, Gouverueur Morris, Gilbert Drake, Lewis 
Graliam, Ezra Lockwood, Zebediah Mills, Jonathan Piatt, Jonathan G. Tompkins. 

Orange. — William Allison, Henry Wisner, Jeremiah Clarke, Isaac Sherwood, Joshua 
H. Smith. 

Suffolk. — William Smith, Thomas Treadwell, John Sloss Hobart, Matthias Burnet 
Miller, Ezra L'Hommedieu. 

Queens. — Jonathan Lawrence. 

Tryon. — William Harper, Isaac Paris, Mr. Vedder, John Morse, Benjamin Newkirk. 

Charlotte. — John AVilliams, Alexander Webster, William Duer. 

Cumberland. — Simon Stephens. 

Kings, Richmond, and Gloucester were not represented. 

* John Jay was born in the city of New York on December 12th, 1745. He entered 
King's (now Columbia) College when he was fourteen years old, and gave early promise 
of a brilliant career. He was admitted to the bar in 1768 ; soon became an eminent 
lawyer ; married a daughter of William Livingston, of New Jersey, in 1774, and joined 
vigorously in opposition to the measures of the British ministry as a champion of popular 
rights. He was the youngest member of the flnst Continental Congress, and was one of 
the most efficient men in that body. After assisting in the organization of the State of 
New York, he became president of the Continental Congress, and in 1779 was sent as 
minister at the Spanish court. He was one of the commissioners to negotiate the Pre- 
liminary Treaty of Peace in 1782, and the following year he affixed his signature to the 
detinite Treaty. On his return he assumed the duties of cliief of the Foreign Depart- 



The Constitution was under consideration for more than a month. 
]V[r. Jay, on reflecting upon the character and feehngs of the members 
of the Convention, had omitted several imj)ortant provisions, wliich he 
proposed to offer separately as amendments before it should be finally 
acted upon. That action was taken, in a precipitate manner, on April 
20th.* Mr. Jay was then absent in attendance upon his dying mother. 
Before his return the instrument was adopted, with some additions and 


omissions, which lie regretted. In a letter penned a few days afterward 
concerning the hurried manner in which this important business had 
been concluded, Mr. Jay wrote, after pointing out his objections : 

" The other parts of the Constitution 1 approve, and only regret that, 
like a harvest cut before it was well ripe, some of the grains have 
shrunk. Exclusive of the clauses which I have mentioned, and which 

ment of the Federal Government, and so remained until the National Government 
was established, in 1789, when he was appointed the first Chief-Justice of the United 
States. In 1794 he negotiated a new treaty with Great Britain. During his absence lie 
Avas elected Governor of the State of New York, and held that office until 1801. Gov- 
ernor Jay died May 17th, 1829. 

* On April 22d the Constitution was published by the reading of it to (he members of 
tlu! Convention and the people by Robert Benson, the secretary, in front of the court- 
house in Kingston. Benson stood upon a barrel, and his clear voice was distinctly heard 
])y the multitude. Three thousand copies of the document were printed by John Holt, 
at Fishkill, for distribution. 



I wish had been added, another material one has been omitted — namely, 
a direction that all persons holding office nnder the government should 
swear allegiance to it, and renounce all allegiance and subjection to 
foreign kings, princes, and States, in all matters, ecclesiastical as well as 
civil. I should also have been for a clause against the continuance of 
domestic slavery, and for the support and encouragement of literature. " 
Because of Mr. Jay's temporary absence from the Convention it is 
probable that the State of Kew York was deprived of the honor of 


setting the first example in America of the voluntary abolition of slavery. 
Among the most prominent features of the Constitution, and which 
were subsequently eliminated from it by revisions and amendments, 
were (1) a provision for a Council of Appointment, composed of the 
governor and four Senators, the latter chosen by the Assembly to serve 
for two years. This Council appointed nearly all officers, excepting the 
chancellor and Supreme Court judges. The term of office of their 
appointees depended upon the will of the Council ; (2) a Council of 


Revision, composed of the governor, tlie chancellor, and Supreme Court 
judges, whose duty it was to revise all bills about to be passed into laws 
by the Legislature ; (3) a property qualification to enable a citizen to 
exercise the right of the elective franchise, and reqiiiring Senators to be 
freeholders ; giving power to the governor to prorogue the Legislature. 

Unlike the more democratic usage of to-day, no j^rovision was made 
for the submission of the Constitution to the judgment of the people, 
and the latter had no opportunity to discuss its provisions or form an 
opinion of it until it was too late to do so. The Convention was urged 
by the "Union Mechanics," of I*^ew York City, to submit it to the 
people ; but as the members of the Convention were anxious to return 
liome, and j^ublic affairs required a speedy organization of a State govern- 
ment, this fundamental law of the State was put forth, the product of 
the representatives only of the people. 

In the full history of tliese movements toward the perfecting the 
Constitution of the State of New York is developed much of the phi- 
losophy of that progress which marks so distinctly the onward career of 
our Commonwealth. Urom the old Dutch laws, sometimes narrow and 
despotic, but usually marked by a sound and expansive policy, have 
evolved, by degrees, the enlightened features of the present Constitution 
of the State. In it we may trace the growth of the benevolent principles 
of human equality and the correct appreciation in the public mind of 
the rights of man. 

Provision was made for putting the State Government into active 
operation immediately.* Robert R. Livingston was appointed by the 
Convention, Chancellor ; John Jay, Chief -Justice ; Robert Yates, Jr., 
and John Sloss Ilobart, puisne justices, and Egbert Benson, Attorney- 
General. The benches of the courts of the several coimties were filled. 
A Council of Safety was appointed, composed of John Morin Scott. 
Robert R. Livingston, Charles Tappen, Abraham Yates, Jr., Gouverneur 
Morris, Zephaniah Piatt, John Jay, Charles De Witt, Robert Harper, 
Jacob Cuyler, Thomas Treadwell, J. Sloss Ilobart, and Jonathan 
G. Tompkins. To this Council were confided all the powers of the State, 
to be exercised without control, until superseded by the regularly con- 
stituted authorities. 

The Convention also appointed a sort of Vigilance Committee, for 

* A committee composed of Johu Jay, Robert R. Livingston, Gouverneur Morris, John 
Morin Scott, Abraham Yates, and John Sloss Hobart was appointed to report a plan for 
organizing the State Government. Fifteen of the members of the Convention were 
empowered to govern the State imtil an election could be held for the State officers. 
They constituted a board called the Council of Safety. 


" inqniring into and detecting and defeating all conspiracies that nxay be 
formed in the State against the liberties of America." John Jay was 
the first chairman. They were empowered to send for persons and 
papers ; to call out the militia in the several counties for suppressing 
insurrection ; to apprehend, secure, or remove persons whom they might 
judge dangerous to the State ; to make the necessary drafts upon the 
treasury ; to enjoin secrecy upon their members and the persons they 
employed. They were empowered to raise and officer two hundred and 
twenty men, and to avail themselves of their service whenever the 
committee might see fit. 

This formidable committee was kept in active existence during the 
war, and its powers were employed with energy. A vast number of 
arrests, imprisonments, and banishments from the State or to within the 
British lines at [New York were made by it. Many Tories and their 
families were sent into the city of New York from the rural districts ; 
others were expelled from the State, and others were required to give 
security to a pledge to reside within prescribed limits. Occasionally the 
jails and even the churches were crowded with prisoners, and many were 
sent to jails in Connecticut for safe keeping. Among the latter was the 
Mayor of J^ew York.* 

The Convention defined the crime of treason against the State, and 
imposed the j)enalty of death upon the offender. They established a 
system of confiscation ; and soon after the Constitution was adopted a law 
was passed requiring an oath of allegiance to the State. All persons 
refusing to take such oath were sent within the British lines or were 
exchanged for prisoners of war. An act of attainder was passed, 
together with an act for the " forfeiture and sale of the estates of persons 

* This committee was timely, for the southern portion of the State was so strongly 
Tory in sentiment that at one time the inhabitants were on the point of open opposition 
to Congress before the entry of the British troops into New York City. Governor Tryon 
resumed his authority as .supreme ruler. He received the congratulations of the loyal 
inhabitants signed by Daniel Hommanden, Oliver de Lancey, and nine hundred and 
forty-six others. They also addressed the brothers Howe, as peace commissioners, praying 
that reconciliation and general loyalty might be restored. A similar address was made to 
the governor and the commissioners in October, signed by David Colden and two thou- 
sand one hundred and eighty-four inhabitants of Queens County. On the 20th of the same 
month the committee of Suffolk County dissolved, disclaimed and rejected the orders of 
Congress, and declared themselves " desirous to obey the legal authority of government, 
hoping that the governor would pass by their former misconduct and be graciously 
pleased to protect them, agreeably to the laws of the province." The disaffected every- 
where began to correspond with the enemy, and authority was given to county com- 
mittees to arrest and punish them. 


who had adhered to the enemy, and for declaring the sovereignty of the 
State in respect to all property within it."* 

The Convention adjourned in May. The Council of Safety imme- 
diately ordered an election of a Legislature and State officers. The returns 
were made to the Council early in July. General George Clinton 
M'as chosen governor, and Pierre van Cortlandt lieutenant-governor. 
Clinton held the position hy successive elections until 1795, when he was 
succeeded by John Jay. lie was installed in office on July 30th, at 
Kingston. Being then actively engaged in command of the New York 
militia, he did not quit the field until the defeat of Burgoyne, in the 
fall, but discharged his civil duties by correspondence with the Council 
of Safety, which body was continued until the full organization of the 
State Government, in the spring of 1778. 

The first meeting of the Legislature of New York took place at King- 
ston, f when Walter Livingston was chosen Speaker of the Assembl}'. 
Pierre van Cortlandt, the lieutenant-governor, presided over the Senate. 
John Morin Scott was chosen Secretary of State, and Comfort Sands 
Auditor- General. 

Thus was completed by the process of evolution the transformation of 
the alternate Dutch and English province of New York into an inde- 
l^endent commonwealth. It formed a constituent of the then inchoate 
nation which has become the mightiest power on the earth. New York 

* The persons subjected to special attention under this law were : John Murray, Earl 
of Dunmore ; William Tryon, governor ; John Watts, Oliver de Lancey, Hugh Wallace, 
Henry White, John Harris Cruger, William Axtell, Roger Morris, late members of the 
Council ; George Duncan Ludlow and Thomas James, late justices of the Supreme 
Court ; John Taber Kempe, late attorney-general ; William Bayard, Robert Bayard, 
James de Lancey, David Matthews (late Mayor of New York), James Jauncey, George 
Folliot, Thomas White, William McAdam, Isaac Low, Miles Sherbrooke, Alexander 
Wallace, John Weatherhead, Rev. Charles Inglis, rector of Trinity Church, and 
Margaretta, his wife ; Sir John Johnson, Guy Johnson, Daniel Claas (son-in-law of Sir 
William Johnson), John Butler, John Joost Herkimer, Frederick Philipse, Senior and 
Junior ; David Colden, Daniel Kissam, Gabriel Ludlow, Philip Skene, Andrew P. Skene, 
Benjamin Seaman, Christopher Billop, Beverly Robinson, Senior and Junior ; Malcomn 
Morrison, John Kane, Abraham C. Cuyler, Robert Leake, Edward Jesup, Ebenezer 
Jesup, Peter Dubois, Thomas H. Barclay, Susannah Robinson and her sister, May 
Morris, John Rapelje, George Morrison, Richard Floyd, Parker Wyckham, Henry 
Lloyd, and Sir Henry Clinton. 

f Kingston was then a pretty, thriving village situated on a plain a short distance west 
of the river. It was one of the earliest Dutch settlements in the State. It was originally 
named Esopus, and that region was the theatre of a tragedy, already noticed, in which the 
Indians took a conspicuous part in Stuyvesant's time. There were Dutch trading settlers 
there so early as 1616. At the time in question it was one of the larger ^^llages in New 


is a peerless member of the Thirty-eiglit United States which form the 
Great Republic of the West. 

While these civil matters were occupying the earnest attention of the 
people of Xew York, a most imposing military spectacle was seen within 
its borders, and filled the minds of every patriot with anxiety and alarm. 

We have observed that General Burgoyne was in Canada at the close 
of 1776 with a large British force. He went to England early in 1777, 
but returned to Quebec on May 5th following. He came bearing the 
commission of lieutenant-general and invested with the chief command 
of the troops in Canada, superseding Governor Carleton. To soothe the 
feelings of the governor, Burgoyne bore to Carleton tokens of knight- 
hood which had just been bestowed upon him, and thenceforth he was 
known as Sir Guy Carleton. 

Burgoyne was instructed to attempt the execution of the ministerial 
plan for the severance of New England from the other States then in 
revolt. He at once made preparations to invade Northern New York 
by the way of Lake Champlain, with a large force of Britons, Germans, 
Canadians, and Indians. 

The vigilant Schuyler, anticipating such an invasion, had written to 
Washington early in the year that at least ten thousand troops, well 
supplied, would be required at Ticonderoga, and two thousand at Fort 
Stanwix (now Rome) and at other points on the Mohawk River. 
Schuyler also engaged two trustworthy residents of Canada to furnish 
him with the best intelligence of affairs there, from time to time. 

Washington made strenuous efforts to strengthen the northern army. 
Some New York and New England troops had joined the garrison at 
Ticonderoga ; but when, so late as June 20th, Schuyler visited that post, 
he was deeply concerned to learn from General St. Clair that the garrison 
was still very weak, the soldiers miserably clad and fed, and that there 
was almost nothing in store for them. A strong redoubt had been built 
on Mount Independence on the opposite shore of the here narrow lake, 
but there were not men enough to properly man it. 

At dawn on the very day when Schuyler arrived at Ticonderoga 
(June 20th), the drums in the British camp at St. Johns, on the Sorel, 
beat the generate^ and very soon the army which Burgoyne * had 

* Sir John Burgoyne was born in England about 1730, and entered the army in his 
youth. He married a daughter of the Earl of Derby. He became distinguished as a 
soldier, served with honor in Portugal in 1763, and became a member of Parliament. 
With the commission of brigadier-general he arrived in Boston late in May, 1775. He 
returned to England late in 1776, and came back to America in the spring of 1777, and 
imdertook the invasion of the State of New York. He and his whole army were made 


gathered tliere were upon vessels bound up the lake. The wives of 
many of the officers accompanied their husbands, for they expected a 
pleasant summer journey over the country to New York, the lieutenant- 
general having written to General Howe that he sliould very soon join 
him on the navigable waters of tlie Hudson. The Indians were to 
spread terror over Northern New York by their atrocities, and so make 
conquest easy, and the voyage up the lake and the march to Albany 
ahnost a pleasure excursion. 

At the same time an expedition under Colonel St. Leger, composed of 
regulars, Canadians, and Indians, was despatched to Lake Ontario with 
orders to cross it, land at Oswego, penetrate and desolate the Mohawk 
Valley, and join the victorious troops which might sweep down from 
the north into the valley of the Hudson. The Canadians and Indians 
were led by Sir John Jolmson. At. the same time a Britisli force was to 
ascend the Hudson, seize the American fortifications in the Highlands, 
waste the country above in case of resistance, and form a junction with 
Burgoyne at Albany. 

To alarm and distract the inhabitants in the lower valley of the 
Hudson and on the seaboard, marauding expeditions were sent out from 
New York. Late in April a strong British force went up the Hudson 
to destroy American stores at Peekskill, at the lower entrance to the 
Highlands. Too weak to defend them, the Americans, under General 
McDougal, set them on fire and retreated to the hills in the rear. 
A little later Governor Tryon, with about two thousand British and 
Tories, landed on the shores of Connecticut, penetrated the country, 
destroyed the stores at Danbury, and plundered and burnt that 

With much display Burgoyne went on board the schooner Lady 
Mary, at St. Johns, when a discharge of cannons from her deck gave a 
signal for the fleet to move. His second in command was General 
"William Phillips. The Baron de Riedesel * was the commander-in-chief 

prisoners at Saratoga, when he returned to England and resumed his seat in Parliament, 
lie became a Privy Councillor, commander-in-chief in Ireland, and retired from public 
life in 1784. He died in London in 1792. 

* Baron de Riedesel was a German officer, born in 1738, and died in Brunswick in 
1800. He served in the English army in the Seven Years' War in Europe under Prince 
Ferdinand, and became captain of Hessian Hussars in 1760. In 1767 he became adjutant- 
general of the Brunswick army. With the rank of major-general he commanded the 
Brunswickers hired by George III. of England for service in America, and landed with 
Burgoyne in Canada in the spring of 1775. He assisted that general in his invasion of New 
York, and was made a prisoner of war. His charming wife accompanied him. and after- 



of the Germans. At the mouth of the Boquet River (site of Wills- 
borough, in Essex County) Burgoyne feasted about four hundred Indians, 
to whom he made a speech, praising them for their fidelity to the king, 
and exhorting them to "strike at 
the common enemy of their sov- 
ereign and America." He forbade 
them to kill any excepting in bat- 
tle, or to take scalps from any but 
the dead. The whole invading 
army arrived at Crown Point on 
June 26th. They then numbered 
something less than nine thousand 
men, with a powerful train of artil- 

The garrisons at Ticonderoga 
and Mount Independence had an 
aggregate force of not more than 
thirty- five hundred men, and only 
one in ten of them possessing a 
bayonet. Schuyler, who was at 
Albany making provision to meet 
the invasion of the Mohawk region, 
had too few troops to spare a re- 
enforcement for St. Clair without uncovering points which, left un- 
protected, might allow the invaders to gain the rear of the lake 
fortresses. There were strong outposts around Ticonderoga, but there 
were not troops enough to man them ; and there were eminences that 
commanded the fort that were left unguarded for the same reason. 
Between Ticonderoga and Mount Independence was a boom which the 
Americans thought would effectually bar the way of British vessels 
ascending the lake ; but it utterly failed in the hour of need. 

At Crown Point Burgoyne issued a pompous proclamation to the 
inhabitants of the upper Hudson Yalley, which he prefaced with a 
list of his titles, followed by terrible threats in allusion to what the 
Indians might do if unrestrained. It did not frighten the people at all. 
They knew the character of the Indians, and regarded the proclama- 


ward published an interesting account of her experience in America. Tlie baron was 
exchanged in 1780 and was made lieutenant-general. His wife was a daughter of the 
Prussian Minister Massow. She died in Berlin in 1808. The baron's Memoirs and his 
wife's Letters and Journal have been translated into English and published by W. L. 
Stone, Esq. 


tioii with contompt* St. Clair also indulged in liopes and a little 

On July let, a bright, hot day, the invading army moved in two 
divisions from Crown Point to attack Forts Ticonderoga and Indepen- 
dence. The right wing, led by General Phillips, moved up the west side 
of the lake, and the left wing, composed of the Germans commanded by 
General Eiedesel, moved up the east side. The dragoons formed the 
advance guard. General Burgoyne and his staff were on the schooner 
lioyal George^ from which he could watch the movements of each 
division. The whole force halted within three miles of Forts Ticon- 
deroga and Independence. 

A detachment of the right wing of the army seized an eminence that 
commanded the road to Lake George and some mills, and they soon took 
possession of the crest of Mount Defiance, and planted a battery upon it, 
whence plunging shot might be hurled into Fort Ticonderoga from a 
point several hundred feet above it. This was done so secretly that the 
first intimation St. Clair had of it was the startling sight, at dawn on 
July 5th. It seemed to the Americans more like the lingering appari- 
tions of a night vision than the terrible reality they were compelled to 
acknowledge it to be. 

The fort was now clearly untenable. A council of w'ar determined 
that only in secret flight might the garrison hope for salvation from 
destruction or capture. The flight was undertaken the same night. 
The invalids and convalescents, stores and baggage, were sent up the 
lake that evening to Skenesborough (now Whitehall) on bateaux ; and 
at about two o'clock in the morning (Sunday, July 6th) the garrison 

* The following poetical paraphrase of the proclamation was attributed to Francis 
H()]ikinson, author of " The Battle of the Kegs :" 

" I will let loose the dogs of hell, 
Five thousand Indians, who shall yell, 
And foam and tear, and griu and roar. 
And drench their moccasins in gore ; 
To these I'll give full scope and play, 
From Ticonderog' to Florida. 
They'll scalp your heads and kick your shins, 
And rip your — and flay your skins ; 
And of your ears be nimble croppers, 
And make your thumbs tobacco-stoppers. 
If after all these loving warnings, 
My wishes and my bowels' yearnings. 
You shall remain as deaf as adder. 
Or grow with hostile rage the madder, 
I swear by St. George and by St. Paul, 
I will exterminate you all. 
Subscribed with my manual sign. 
To test these presents— John Burooyne." 


crossed a floating bridge at the boom to Fort Independence, leaving 
ahnost two hundred cannons behind them. With the garrison of the 
latter thej fled southward through the forests of Vermont, hotly pursued 
by the grenadier brigade of General Fraser and some of the Germans. 
Overtaken at Ilubbardton, the Americans, after a short and sharp battle, 
were defeated and dispersed. St. Clair finally rallied about two thousand 
men, and with these reached Fort Edward, on the upper Hudson, in safety. 

In the mean time Burgoyne had ordered his gun-boats and other 
vessels to pursue the fugitive bateaux. Before sunrise these vessels Jiad 
burst asunder the boom on which the Americans relied, and the whole 
British flotilla engaged in the chase. The bateaux were overtaken near 
Skenesborough and destroyed, with all their contents, but the men 

General Schuyler, who was constantly engaged in the oversight of 
everything in the Northern Department, was severel}' censured for the 
evacuation of Ticonderoga, when he had no connection with the event. 
The evacuation was done without his orders or his knowledge, for he 
was then at Saratoga on important public business. He was tried for 
the offence by a court-martial, and most honorably acquitted.* 

From Skenesborough Burgoyne sent out a boastful and arrogant proc- 
lamation, in which he demanded the instant submission of the people, 
and required them to send deputies from the several townships to meet 
Colonel Philip Skene f in conference at Castleton, on July 15th. He 
threatened them with " military executions" if they refused to obey his 
commands. At the same time he promised them ample protection if 
they should be obedient. 

General Schuyler, who had hastened to Fort Edward, issued a stirring 
counter-proclamation, warning the people against the wiles of the enemy, 
whose sole object was by threats and promises to induce the inhabitants 
to forsake the cause of their injured country, and to assist the enemy in 

* For minute particulars concerning tlie eminent public services of General Schuyler 
from 1760 until his death in 1804, see Lossing's Life and Times of Philip Schuyler, 
published by Henry Holt & Co. , New York. 

f Philip Skene came to America with British troops in 1756, and was wounded in the 
attack on Ticonderoga under Abercrombie. He had entered the army in 1739. He was 
in command of Crown Point for a w-hile. He planted a settlement at the head of Lake 
Champlain (now Whitehall) which was called Skenesborough, and there he made his resi- 
dence in 1770. Adhering to the British crown, he was arrested in Philadelphia, but was 
exchanged in 1776, and accompanied Burgoyne in his invasion of New York. He was 
with the British detachment defeated at Bennington, and was taken prisoner at Saratoga. 
The Legislature of New York confiscated his property in 1779, when he returned to 
England, and died there in 1810. 


forcing slavery upon the people of the United States. He warned his 
fellow-citizens that the invaders would bring upon them that misery 
which similar promises brought upon "the deluded inhabitants of New 
Jersey who were weak enough to confide in them, but soon experienced 
their fallacy by being treated indiscriminately with those virtuous citizens 
who came forth in defence of their country, with the most wanton 
barbarities, and such as hitherto hath not even disgraced barbarians. 
They cruelly butchered without distinction to age or sex," Schuyler 
continued. " They ravished children from ten to women of eighty 
years of age ! they burnt, pillaged, and destroyed whatever came into 
their power, nor did those edifices dedicated to the worship of Almighty 
God escape their sacrilegious fury." 

Schuyler warned the people of Northern New York that this would 
be their fate if they heeded Burgoyne's proclamation ; and he told them 
distinctly that any persons holding any correspondence with the invaders, 
or who should accept protection from them, would be regarded and 
punished as traitors to their country. 

Burgoyne pushed on from Skenesborough toward Fort Edward, on 
the upper Hudson, but met with obstructions at almost every step, 
which had been cast in his way by General Schuyler, who destroyed 
bridges and felled trees across the roads. Schuyler was then in command 
of not more than four thousand effective men, a number entirely inade- 
quate to combat a foe twice as strong in numbers and flushed with 
victory ; but so effectually did he employ his troops in impeding the 
march of the invading anny that they did not arrive at Fort Edward 
before the close of July. Then occurred there the sad tragedy of the 
death of Jane McCrea, the story of which, as set afloat at that time, is 
familiar to all readers of American history; but truth changed its 
features many years ago, and gave the story as follows : 

Jane McCrea, a daughter of a clergyman in New Jersey, was visiting 
friends at Fort Edward at the time of the invasion. She was betrothed 
to a young man living near there, who was then in Burgoyne's army. 
When that army approached Fort Edward some prowling Indians seized 
Miss McCrea and her feminine friend with whom she was staying, and 
attempted to convey them to the British camp at Sfindy Hill. They 
had placed them upon horses (probably by direction of the lover) and 
were ascending a hill when a detachment of Americans, who were sent 
to rescue the captives, fired upon the dusky kidnappers. One of the 
bullets pierced the brain of the maiden, and she fell dead from the 
horse. Her captors scalped her and carried her glossy tresses into the 
camp as a trophy. Her lover, shocked by the event, loft the anuy and 


retired to Canada, earryinji; with liim the precious locks of liis affianced. 
He lived, a moody bachelor, until he was an old man. 

The body of Miss McCrea was recovered by her friends, and was 
buried at Fort Edward. A tale of romance and horror concernins^ the 
manner of her death went abroad. In September an open letter of 
General Gates (who had superseded Schuyler in command) to Burgoyne, 
full of exaggerations and holding the latter responsible for the death of 
the maiden, gave great currency to the story ; and hundreds, perhaps 
thousands, of young men, burning with indignation and a spirit of ven- 
geance because of the outrage, flocked to the American camp. 

Schuyler contimially fell back before the pressure of Burgoyne's 
superior numbers, made stronger by discipline, until, in August, he 
resolved to make a stand near Stillwater, on the Hudson, and there 
establish a fortified camp for recruits, who were coming in rapidly. 
Burgoyne was evidently becoming weaker as he departed farther from 
his now precarious supplies. His army was soon in an almost starving 
condition, and menaced on every side by constantly increasing enemies. 

Necessity now compelled Burgoyne to make a bold stroke for food, 
forage, and conquest. lie was informed that the Americans had a largo 
quantity of stores at Bennington, in Vermont. lie sent a detachment 
of Germans, Canadians, Tories, and Indians, under Lieutenant-Colonel 
Breyman, to seize these supplies, procure horses, and organize the Tories 
in that region. This force was met by N^ew Hampshire militia and 
others under General John Starke a short distance from Bennington, 
and on August lOth (1777) a severe battle occurred. * The invaders were 
defeated and dispersed, and about seven hundred of them became 
prisoners. Many of the Canadians and Indians deserted, and the 
survivors marched back in most melancholy mood. 

This was a disastrous expedition for the invaders. It greatly inspirited 
the patriots, disheartened the Tories, and depressed the spirits of the 
whole of Burgoyne's army. It crippled his movements when it wsis all- 
important that he should go forward with celerity, for St. Leger, whom 
he had sent by way of Lake Ontario and Oswego to invade the Mohawk 
Valley, was then besieging Fort Stanwix (then called Fort Schuyler), 
with the expectation of soon meeting the lieutenant-general at Albany. 
His plans M'ere frustrated. It was perilous for him to remain where he 
was ; it would be perilous to move forward. His troops had to be fed 
with provisions brought from England by way of Canada and Lakes 
Champlain and George and a land journey through the forests. Let us 
leave Burgoyne in this dilemma and take a glance at passing events in 
the Mohawk Valley. 




In order to moderate tlie zeal of tlie Toi-ies and to encourage and 
support tlio Whigs of Tryon County, Fort Schuyler (on the site of 
Rome, N. Y.) had been garrisoned by seven hundred and fifty men, 

commanded by Colonel Peter 
Gansevoort. In July (1777) Colo- 
nel Marimis Willett, an active and 
judicious officer, joined the garri- 
son with his regiment. Another 
re-enforcement arrived soon after- 
ward with provisions sufficient to 
subsist the garrison for at least six 

Brigadier-General Nicholas Her- 
kimer, a venerable citizen sixty- 
five years old, was then in command 
of the Tryon County militia. The 
Mohawk chief, Brant,* had re- 
turned from Canada in the spring 
and placed himself at the head of 
a band of Indian marauders in the 
vicinity of the head-waters of the 
Susquehanna River, and the briga- 
dier had watched liim for several 
weeks with sleepless vigilance. 
At the beginning of August Colonel St. Leger, with a motley host of 
Tories and Canadians — the " Johnson (or Royal) Greens" — commanded 
by Colonels Sir John Johnson, Claas, and Butler, and Indians led by 


* Joseph Brant tTliay-cn-da-ne-gea) was an eminent Mohawk chief, born about 1752, 
and died at the western end of Lake Ontario, in Canada, in 1807. Sir WiUiani Johnson 
liad him educated by Dr. Wheelock at Hanover, N. H. He engaged in the war against 
Pontiac in 1763. He became .secretary to Guy Johnson. In 1776 he went to England 
and offered his own and Ins people's services in suppressing the; rebellion in the colonies. 
He and most of the Mohawks remained friends of the crown throughout the war. After 
the war he prevailed on the Six Nations to make a permanent peace with the new govern- 
ment. He went to England a second time, in 1786, in the interest of his people, who 
were settled on a reservation on the Grand River, in Canada. His remains rest beneath a 


Brant, arrived before Fort Sclmyler from Oswego, and began a close 
siege.* Herkimer with his mihtia, eight hundred strong, hastened to 
the assistance of the garrison, sending them word that he was comino-. 
Encouraged by this news. Colonel Willett made a sortie with a part of 
two regiments. He fell upon the " Greens" so suddenly and furiously 
that they were compelled to fly in confusion. Sir John had not time to 
put on his coat. His papers, baggage, clothing, blankets, and camp 
equipage, sufficient in bulk to All twenty wagons, were tlie spoils of 
victory. The trophies were five British flags. A portion of the 
" Greens'' had gone to meet Herkimer and his men. 

On the morning of August 6th Herkimer and his little force were 
marching, in fancied security, at Oriskany, a few miles west of Utica, 
when they fell into an ambush of Tories and Indians. They were 
assailed at all points by pikes, hatchets, and rifle-balls. Herkimer's rear- 
guard broke and fled ; the remainder sustained a fierce conflict for more 
than an hour, interrupted about fifteen minutes by a sudden thunder- 
storm. A bullet shattered the leg of the brave old commander, f and 

handsome mausoleum near a church built on the reservation. His son John was active 
on the side of the British in the Eastern movements of the War of 1813. 

In October, 1886, a slightly colossal statue of Brant, nine feet in height, in Indian 
costume, was unveiled on the Mohawk reservation at Brantford, on the Grand River, 
Ontario, Canada. The likeness we give of the chief is from a miniatui'e, exquisite!}^ 
painted on ivor}-, from life, when Brant was in London in 1785-86. It is in possession 
of the Brant family, and has ever been considered the best likeness of him ever painted. 

Colonel William L. Stone, the eminent journalist of New York fifty or sixty years ago, 
has made the students of the history of our Commonwealth his debtors by his elaborate 
biographies of both Brant and the great Seneca chief, Red Jacket, the most conspicuous 
representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy. 

* The garrison was without a flag when the invaders appeared. One was soon sup- 
plied, in pattern that was uniform with the prescription of the Continental Congress, by 
resolution, adopted a few weeks before — " thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, and 
thirteen stars displayed upon a blue field. " Shirts were cut up to form the white stripes ; 
bits of scarlet cloth were joined for the red stripes, and the blue ground for the stars was 
composed of a portion of a cloth cloak belonging to Captain Abraham Swartwout, of 
Duchess County, N. Y., who was then in the fort. It is believed this was tlie first 
garrison flag displayed after the passage of the resolution of Congress on June 14th, 1777. 

f Nicholas Herkimer (Herkheimer) was born about 1727, and died in 1777. He was a 
son of a Palatine who settled below Little Falls, in the Mohawk Valley, in the reign of 
Queen Anne, and was one of the patentees of present Herkimer County. In 1758 Nicholas 
was made a lieutenant of provincials, and was in command of Fort, Herkimer in that 
year. He was appointed colonel of the first battalion of Tryon County militia in 1775 ; 
also chairman of the County Committee of Safety, and in September, 1776, was made a 
brigadier-general by the Provincial Convention of New York. He died at his home ten 
days after he was wounded at the battle of Oriskany. The Continental Congress voted to 
erect a monument to his memory of the value of $500, but it has never been done. 



killed the liorse upon which lie was riding. Seated upon his saddle at 
the foot of a tree, he calmly gave orders. At length the Indians, hear- 
ing the firing occasioned by Willett's sortie, fled to the deep woods in a 
panic, and were soon followed by the equally alarmed Tories, leaving 
the patriots masters of the field. Herkimer was taken to his home below 

the Little Falls of the Mohawk, 
where he soon afterward died from 
excessive bleeding from his wound, 
the result of bad surgery. 

The siege of Fort Schuyler was 
vigorously pressed by St. Leger. 
On August 9th he made a formal 
demand for the surrender of the 
fort. It was refused. Fearing the 
assailants might be re-enforced, and 
that his own provisions might fail, 
Gansevoort sent Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel AV"illett * to Schuyler to ask 
him to furnish relief. Willett, 
with a single companion, who was 
an expert in woodcraft, left the 
fort stealthily during a series of 
heavy thunder-storms. He reached 
the quarters of Schuyler at Still- 
water on the 12th, and revealed the urgency of the case to the general. 

Scliuyler, fully comprehending the importance of checking the 
advance of St. Leger in the west while endeavoring to roll back the 
invasion from the north, called a council of officers and proposed to send 
a detachment to the relief of Fort Schuyler. The council objected 
because of the pressing need of men for the army confronting Burgoyne. 


* Marinus Willett was born at Jamaica, L. I., in 1740, and died in Xew York City in 
1830. He was graduated at King's (now Columbia) College, and soon afterward served 
with Abercrombie in the attack on Ticonderoga in 1758. He wa.s with Bradstreet 
against Fort Frontenac. Willett was one of the most eminent of the " Sons of Liberty," 
and became a captain in McDougal's regiment in the invasion of Canada in 1775. He was 
promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the Third New York Regiment. In 1777 he was in 
Fort Stanwix and assisted in its defence. In August he bore a mes.sage by stealth to 
General Schuyler asking for relief, which was sent. He was in the battle of Monmoutli 
in 1778, was with Sullivan in his campaign against the Indians in 1779, and in 1784 
became sheriff of New York City, in which position he served ten years. In 1807 he 
was elected mayor of the city. He had been appointed a brigadier-general in the army 
to act against the Indians in the North-west in 1792, but declined the honor. 


Schuyler heard one of the officers say in a half -suppressed whisper, " He 
means to weaken the army." This was an echo — an epitome — of the 
slanders with whicli the general liad been assailed since the evacuation of 
Ticonderoga. With hot indignation he turned upon the slanderer, and 
unconsciously biting in pieces a clay pipe that he was smoking, exclaimed 
in a voice that awed the whole company into silence : 

"Gentlemen, I shall take the responsibility upon mj'self ; where is 
the brigadier who will take command of the relief ? I shall beat up for 
volunteers to-morrow. " 

The brave Benedict Arnold, one of the council, who knew how unjust 
was the thought that there could be treason in the heart of General 
Schuyler, immediately stepped forward and offered his services. The 
drums beat for volunteers the next morning, and before noon (August 
13th) eight hundred stalwart men were enrolled for the relief expedition. 
They were chiefly from the Massachusetts brigade of General Larned. 

With such followers — men who had implicit confidence in him — Gen- 
eral Arnold pushed rapidly up the Mohawk Yalley. By stratagem, 
audacity, and prowess Arnold impressed the followers of St. Leger with 
the startling idea that the Americans advancing upon them were over- 
whelming in numbers.* So impressed, the Indians resolved to fly. No 
persuasions could hold them. Away they went, as fast as their legs 
could carry them, toward Oswego and the more western forests. They 
were followed by their pale-faced confreres^ pell-mell, helter-skelter, in 
a race for safety to be found on the bosom of Lake Ontario. 

So was suddenly raised the siege of Fort Schuyler, and so ended the 
really formidable invasion from the west. 

The failure of the expedition of St. Leger f was a stunning blow to 
the hopes of Burgoyne. This disaster, following so closely upon that 

* At the German Flats Arnold found a half idiotic Tory under sentence of death for 
some crime he had committed. His mother begged Arnold to pardon him. Her prayer 
was granted on the condition that he should accompony a friendly Oneida chief among 
the barbarians into St. Legcr's camp, and by representing the oncoming Americans, from 
whom they had just escaped, as very numerous, frighten them away. The prisoner 
consented. The Tory had several shots fired through his coat, and with these evidences 
of a "terrible engagement with the enemy," he ran, almost out of breath, into the 
Indian camp. Pointing toward the trees and the sky he said : " They are as many as 
the leaves and the stars at night." Very soon his companion, the Oneida, came running 
from another direction with the same story, when, as we have seen above, the Indians 

f Colonel Barry St. Leger entered the British army in 1749 ; came to America with his 
regiment in 1757, and was with Wolfe at Quebec. . He became lieutenant -colonel in 
1772, and was sent to Canada in 1775. After his failure in the Mohawk Valley he dis- 
iippears from history. He died in 1789. 


near Bennington, staggered liim. His visions of conquest, "orders,"' 
and perliaps a peerage for himself vanished. His army was already con- 
quered. The sad news thoroughly disheartened his troops. The fidelity 
of the Indians, always fair-weather warriors, waned, and tiiese and 
Canadians and timid Tories became lukewarm, and they deserted by 

Burgoyne's perplexity was great. To proceed would be madness ; to 
retreat would give hosts of friends to the Republicans and dissipate the 
idea of British invincibility. He complained to the ministry that Howe 
had not co-operated in his favor by movements below, and consequently 
troops from above the Highlands had swelled the Northern army of the 
Americans. He resolved to remain where he was (on the heights of 
Saratoga, where Schuylerville now stands) until the panic in his army 
should subside and he should receive supplies from posts on Lakes Cham- 
plain and George. By great diligence he soon afterward had sufficient 
provisions brought from Lake George to last his army a month. 

At this juncture, w^hen Schuyler, who for weeks had retarded the 
invasion of Burgoyne with a handful of men ; when his wisdom, prowess, 
and patriotism were inducing recruits to flock to his standard, now that 
their summer crops were generally gathered and he was ready to strike a 
blow for victory, he was superseded in the command of the Xorthern 
Department by General Gates. This change had been effected by 
intrigues, a faction in Congress, and widely circulated slanders. That 
Schuyler was the victim of a conspiracy no careful student of our history 
can reasonably doubt. Yet he patriotically acquiesced, and generously 
offered to give Gates all the aid in his power. Had Gates wisely accepted 
the generous offer and acted with a proper spirit at that time, he might 
have gained an early victory over the invaders. But he did not act 
wisely, generously, nor efficiently, and when a victory was finally won in 
spite of him, he was not entitled to the honor of achieving it. 

Burgoyne established an intrenched camp on the heights of Saratoga. 
Early in September Gates found himself in command of an army 
stronger in numbers than the whole British force opposing him. The 
American forces were well j^osted on Bemis's Heights, two miles above 
Stillwater, the right wing resting upon the Hudson River below the 
Heights, and their loft upon gentle hills. Upon their front was a well- 
constructed line of fortiii cations. 

Imperious necessity compelled Burgoyne to move forward. He took 
a position within two miles of the American lines, and on the morning^ 
of September 19th he advanced to offer battle. He had no alternative 
but to fight or surrender, for he had been informed that General Lincoln, 


with two thousand New England mihtia, had gotten in liis rear and Imd 
cut off his communication with Canada. On the daj before, Colonel 
John Brown, despatched by General Lincoln with a few troops and some 
heavy guns, had surprised an outpost between Ticonderoga and Lake 
George ; liad taken possession of Mount Defiance ; cannonaded Ticon- 
deroga and Fort Independence ; destroyed two hundred vessels, includ- 
ing seventeen gun-boats and an armed sloop, at the outlet of Lake 
George ; seized a large quantity of stores ; released one hundred Ameri- 
can prisoners, and captured about three huiidred British soldiers, 

Burgoyne's left wing, with an immense artillery train, commanded by 
Generals Phillips and Riedesel, kept upon the plain near the river. The 
centre and right, composed largely of Germans, extended across the 
rolling country on the Heights, and were commanded by Burgoyne in 
person. Upon tiie hills on the extreme right General Fraser with 
grenadiers and Colonel Breyman with riflemen were posted for the pur- 
pose of outflanking the Americans. On the front and right flank was a 
body of Canadians, Tories, and Lidians designed to attack the central 
outposts of the Americans. 

During the morning General Arnold, who commanded a division, had 
observed through vistas in screening woods ])re*parations of the foe for 
an attack, and urged General Gates to send out a detachment to confront 
them. But Gates had determined to act on the defensive within his 
lines, and hesitated. At length he permitted Colonel Morgan and his 
riflemen, and some infantry under Colonels Dearborn and Scammell, to 
make an attack upon the Canadians and Tories. After severe skirmish- 
ing the parties retired to their respective lines. 

At eleven o'clock Burgoyne gave a signal for his whole array to move 
forward. Gates seemed indisposed to flght, and remained in his tent. 
GeneralFraser began the battle by making a rapid movement to turn the 
American left commanded by Arnold. At the same time Arnold, with 
equal celerity of movement, attempted to turn the British right. Ho 
was frustrated by the refusal of Gates to send him re-enforcements. He 
was forced back, when Fraser, by a quick movement, called up to his 
aid some German and other troops from Burgoyne's centre column. 
Arnold brought his whole division (chiefly New Englanders) into action 
and called for re-enforcements. They were not supplied ; yet he smote 
the enemy so lustily that their line began to waver, and it soon fell into 

General Phillips, below the Heights, hearing the din of battle, hurried 
over the hills with fresh troops and artillery, followed by German 
dragoons under Biedesel, and appeared upon the ground just as victory 


seemed about to rest witli the Americans. Still the l)attle raged. The 
ranks of the British were becoming fearfully thinned, when Riedesel 
made a furious attack upon the flank of the Americans with cannon and 
musketry, which compelled them to give way. So the Germans saved 
the British army from ruin. 

At the middle of the afternoon there was a lull in the tempest of 
battle. It was soon succeeded by a more violent outburst of fury. 
Burgoyne opened a heavy cannonade upon the Americans, who made no 
response. Then he ordered a bayonet charge. As the invaders rushed 
forward to the assault their silent antagonists sprang forward from their 
intrenchments like tigers, and attacked the British so furiously with ball 
and bayonet that they soon recoiled and were pushed far back. 

At that moment Arnold was at headquarters seated on his powerful 
horse, vainly bogging for re-enforcements. The sounds of battle made 
him exceedingly impatient, and when it was announced that the conflict 
was indecisive he could no longer brook delay, but turning his horse's 
head in the direction of the storm, exclaimed, " I'll soon put an end to 
it !" Putting spurs to his charger, he dashed away on a wild gallop, 
followed by a young staff officer (Wilkinson), who was sent by Gates to 
order the impetuous general back. The subaltern could not overtake 
Arnold before he reached the scene of conflict, where, by words and 
deeds, the gallant general animated his troops. 

For three hours more the battle raged. The Americans had almost 
turned the British flank when Colonel Breyman with his German rifle- 
men, fighting bravely, averted the blow that might have been fatal to 
the British army. The combatants had surged in doubt backward and 
forward across the fields like the ebb and flow of the tide. Darkness fell 
upon the scene and ended the conflict. The British slept that night 
upon their arms, and the Americans slumbered within their lines. The 
American forces much outnumbered those of the British. 

Petty jealousies marked the conduct of the opposing chief commanders 
in this conflict. Twice the German troops had saved the British army 
during the battle. Burgoyne, regarding Piedesel with envy, withheld 
the honor due him in his official report. Had Arnold been furnished 
with re-enforcements when he asked for them, no doubt he would have 
won a victory in the morning. Gates was not seen on the field during 
the. day,* nor any other general officer besides Arnold but Learned ; and 

* Tlic concurrent testimony of contemporaries plainly shows that Gates scarcely left 
his tent during the d;iy of the battle, and that under its shelter he freely indulged in 
strong drinks and in unbecoming remarks concerning officers of whom he Avas jealous. 


but for the prowess and skill of the former, all candid historians admit 
that Bnrgoyne would undoubtedly have entered Albany in triumph as a 
victor at the autumnal equinox. Gates, angry because the army praised 
Arnold and Morgan, did not mention their names in his official report 
of the battle ! 

The wretched condition of his army was revealed to Burgoyne on the 
morning of the 20th. He had lost about six hundred men. He expected 
an immediate renewal of the battle by the Americans. With that 
impression he hastily buried his dead in holes and trenches, and withdrew 
to high ground about two miles from the American lines. The latter 
had good reason for removing within their lines, for their ammunition 
was exhausted. This fact was known only to Gates. He was justified 
in not acceding to Arnold's urgent request to attack the enemy on that 

Burgoyne and the whole army were greatly depressed in spirits by the 
events of the 19th, yet, hourly expecting good news from Howe or 
Clinton below, he addressed his troops in a cheerful tone, and declared 
that he would either leave his dead body on the field or push his way to 
Albany. On the following day he received a despatch from Clinton, 
who was in command at New York, promising aid by attacking the forts 
or the Hudson Highlands. He also gave him the cheering news of 
Howe's victory on the Brandy wine Creek. Burgoyne assured Clinton 
that he could maintain his position until October 12th. 

Burgoyne waited many days for more tidings from Clinton. None 
came, and on the evening of October 4th he called a council of officers. 
Phillips proposed an attempt to turn the American left flank by a swift 
circuitous march. Riedesel favored a rapid retreat to Fort Edward. 
Fraser was willing to fight then and there. The latter course was agreed 
upon, and on the morning of the Tth, after liquors and rations for four 
days had been distributed to the whole army, Burgoyne moved toward 
the American left with fifteen hundred picked men, eight brass cannons, 
and two howitzers. He formed a battle-line behind a forest screen three 
fourths of a mile from the American intrenchments. Generals Riedesel, 
Phillips, and Fraser were Avith the lieutenant-general, who sent out a 
party composed of Canadians, Tories, and Indians to make a circuit 
through the woods, and, hanging upon the American rear, keep them in 
check while he should attack them in front. 

Burgoyne was discovered before he was ready for battle. The drums 
of tlie Americans beat to arms, and an alarm was sent all along the lines. 
They had been re-enforced by Lincoln, and their army now numbered 
about ten thousand men — nejvrly double the number of the British force. 


Oates inquired the cause of the disturbance, and when he ascertained the 
truth he sent out Colonel Morgan with his riflemen and some infantry to 
secure a position to attack the flank and rear of the British right and to 
^' begin the game." At the same time New Hampshire militia under 
General Poor and New York militia under General Tenbroeck advanced 
against the British left. 

Meanwhile the Canadians and Tories had turned the flank of the 
Americans and attacked their pickets in the rear. The British grenadiers 
soon joined these assailants and drove the Americans back to their lines, 
where a hot contest ensued, lasting half an hour. In that flght Morgan 
and his men assailed the foe so vigorously that they were driven back in 
confusion to the British line, which then stood in battle order in an open 
field. Grenadiers under Major Acland and artillery commanded by 
Major Williams formed the left of the line upon rising ground. Tiie 
centre was composed of Britons and Germans led by Phillips and 
Riedesel, and the extreme left of infantry under Earl Balcarras. General 
Fraser at the head of five hundred picked men was a short distance in 
advance of the British right ready to fall upon the left front of the 

Just as Burgoyne was about to advance, at three o'clock in the after- 
noon, he was astounded by the thunder of cannons on his left and the 
rattle of small arms on his right. New Englanders under General Poor 
had moved stealthily up the slope, upon the crown of which were the 
troops of Acland and Williams, and pressed through the thick wood 
toward the batteries of the latter. When the Republicans were dis- 
covered the British opened upon them a heavy storm of musket-balls and 
grape-shot with very little eifect, for the missiles passed over their heads. 
The Americans then sprang forward with a shout and fired rapid volleys, 
when a fierce conflict ensued. The Republicans rushed up to the mouths 
of the cannons and engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle for victory among 
the carriages of the field-pieces. Five times one of the cannons was 
taken and retaken. It finally remained with the Americans, and as the 
British fell back Colonel Cilley mounted the gun, waved his sword high 
in air, and dedicated the weaj^on to " the American cause." 

In this fierce combat Major Acland was seriously wounded * and Major 
AVilliams was made a prisoner. Their men, panic-stricken, fled in con- 

* The wives of General Riedesel, Major Acland, and others were with their husbands. 
When Mrs. Acland, a daughter of the Earl of Ilchester, heard of her husband's con- 
dition^wounded and a prisoner within the American lines — she obtained jxTniission 
from Burgoyne to go to him. She was admitted, and wjis at her husband's bed-side at a 
house on Bemis's Heights until he recovered sufficiently to proceed to New York. 


fusion, and the whole eight brass cannons and the field remained in pos- 
session of the Americans. 

Morgan in the mean time led an attack upon General Fraser and drove 
him back upon the British lines ; then falling upon their right flank, he 
broke their ranks and put them in confusion. Colonel Dearborn attacked 
their front with fresh troops and broke their line, but it was soon raUied. 

It was at this moment that General Arnold reappeared upon the scene. 
Gates's treatment of him had so greatly irritated him that he had de- 
manded a pass to go to Washington's headquarters. It was readily 
granted, for Gates, now feeling sure of success, did not wish the brave 
general to have a share in the glory of the achievement. He did not 
thereby actually take the command of the division from Arnold, but he 
assigned its control to General Lincoln, who tried to reconcile the differ- 
ences between the two generals. The officers of the latter, by personal 
entreaties and a written address, persuaded him to remain, but Gates 
refused to give him any command. Arnold had no authority even to 
fight, much less to order. He was eager to join in the combat at the 
begi nni n^. 

" No man," he exclaimed to his aides, " shall keep me from the field 
to-day. If I am without command I will fight in the ranks ; but the 
soldiers, God bless them ! will follow my lead." 

Thoroughly aroused by the din of battle at the moment just alluded 
to, Arnold leaped into his saddle and dashed away to the point of conflict 
in which his division was engaged, again followed by one of Gates's aides 
(Armstrong) with instructions to order him back. The chase was in 
vain. Arnold plunged into the thickest of the fight, where the subaltern 
dared not follow. His troops welcomed him with shouts. He immedi- 
ately led them against the British centre, riding along the lines, giving 
orders, and exposed to innninent peril every moment. 

The Germans received the first furious assault from Arnold's troops. 
They made a brave resistance and flung the assailants back at first, but 
when at a second charge Arnold dashed among them at tlie head of his 
troops, they broke and fled in dismay. 

And now the battle became general all along the line. Arnold and 
Morgan were the ruling spirits that cont;rolled the storm on the part of 
the Americans. The gallant Fraser was the directing soul of the British 
troops in action. His skill and courage were everywhere conspicuous. 
When the lines gave way he brought order out of confusion ; when regi- 
ments began to waver he infused courage into them by voice and 
example. The fate of the battle evidently depended upon him. 

Arnold perceived tliis, and said to Morgan, " That officer in full 


unifonii is General Fraser. It is essential to our success tliat he be dis- 
posed of. Direct tlie attention of some of the sharpshooters of your 
riflemen to him." The order was obeyed, and very soon Fraser fell 
from liis horse mortally wounded. It is difficult for a humane and gen- 
erous mind to accept any excuse for this cruel order and the deed that 

Wlien the gallant Fraser fell a panic ran along tlie Britisli line. At 
that moment three thousand New York militia under General Teubroeck 
appeared, when the wavering line gave way and the British troops, 
covered by Pliillips and Riedesel, fled to their intrenchments. Up to 
these works, in the face of a terrible tempest of bullets and grape-shot, 
the Americans eagerly pressed, with Arnold at their head, who was seen 
at all points, through the sulphurous smoke, encouraging his men. His 
voice could be heard above the din of battle. With a part of the 
brigades of Generals Paterson and Glover he drove the troops of Earl 
Balcarras from an ahatis at the point of the bayonet, and attempted to 
force his way into the British camp. Failing in this, he led Learned's 
l)rigade against the British right. For a while the result was doubtful, 
but at length the Britons gave way, leaving the Germans under General 
Specht entirely exposed. 

At this moment Arnold ordered up from the left the New York regi- 
ments of Colonels Wessen and Livingston and Morgan's riflemen to make 
a general assault, while he, with the Massachusetts regiment of Colonel 
Brooks, attacked the Germans commanded by Colonel Breyman. He 
rushed into the sally-port on his horse and spread terror among them. 
They had seen him for two hours in the thickest of the flght unhurt, and 
they regarded him with superstitious awe as a charmed character. They 
broke and fled. A bullet from a parting volley which they gave on 
their retreat killed Arnold's horse and -wounded him in the same leg that 
was badly hurt at Quebec. Just then Gates's subaltern overtook the 
wounded and victorious Arnold and gave his commander's order to return 
to camp ! Gates had expressed a fear that Arnold might " do some rash 
thing." lie liad done a "rash thing" in achieving a decisive victory 
which Gates was incompetent to win. Yet the latter claimed and 
received the honors of the achievement 

* General Fraser died ou the morning after the battle. His body was buried at the 
evening twilight of the same day within a redoubt upon a gentle eminence, which the 
dying hero designated a.s the place of his sepulture. It was followed to the grave by 
Burgoyne and a large number of officers. As soon as the solemn character of the proces- 
sion was recogni7.ed by the Americans a cannonade which they had begun ceivsed, and 
they fired minute-guns in honor of the memory of the brave soldier. 



The rout of the Germans was complete. They threw down their arms 
and ran, and could not be rallied. Colonel Breyman was mortally 
wounded. Darkness ended the conflict. 

Bur^oyne, resolved to retreat, withdrew his whole force a mile north 
of his intrench ments, and on the night of the 8th he marched, in a cold 
rain-storm, for the heights of Saratoga, where tlie troops arrived, in a 
most .wretched plight, on the morning of the 10th. They had burned the 
mansion, mills, and other property 
of General Schuyler on their way. 

The American army also moved 
northward, and a part of it took a 
position on the hills on the east 
side of the Hudson directly op- 
posite Burgoyne's camp and within 
cannon-shot of it. Satisfied that 
he could neither fight nor retreat 
with safety, Burgoyne opened nego- 
tiations with Gates for a surrender 
upon honorable terms. A capitu- 
lation was signed, and on October 
17th, 1777, his troops laid down 
their arms in submission on the 
plain, near the Hudson, in front of 
(present) Schuylerville. Burgoyne 

surrendered his sword to Gates at the headquarters of tlie latter, not 
far from the ruins of General Schuyler's property.* 

The whole number of troops surrendered to the Americans at Saratoga 
was five thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine, of whom two thousand 
four hundred and twelve were Germans. Besides these there were 
eighteen hundred prisoners of war, including sick and wounded. The 
entire loss of the British army after they entered the State of New York, 
including those under St. Leger, who were disabled or captured at Fort 
Schuyler and Oriskany, was almost ten thousand men. On Burgoyne's 

/ ' 


* The value of the property destroyed was fully $50,000. When General Schuyler 
heard of his loss he wrote to Colonel Varick : " The event [the victory] that has taken 
place makes the heavy loss I have sustained sit quite easy upon me. Britain will iirob- 
ably see how fruitless her attempts to enslave us will be." 

After the surrender of Burgoyne, Schuyler entertained the captive general at his house 
in Albany. The latter spoke feelingly of the injury his troops had done to the private 
property of General Schuyler. " Say nothing about it," responded Schuyler ; " it was 
the fortune of war. ' ' 



staff were six members of Parliament. Among tiie spoils were forty- 
two pieces of tlie best brass cannon then known, forty-six hundred 
muskets and rifles, and a large quantity of munitions of war. Congress 
awarded thanks and a gold medal to Gates. 

Yery generous terms were granted to Burgoyne by the capitulation. 
The troops were held as prisoners of war, ])ut allowed a free passage to 
Europe for those who wished to go there, and free permission for the 
Canadians to return to their homes on the condition that none of the 

troops surrendered should serve 
against the Americans. The cap- 
tives were inarched to Cambridge, 
near Boston, expecting to embark 
for England, (congress ratified the 
generous terms, but Washington 
and that body were soon convinced 
by circumstances that Burgoyne 
and his officers intended to violate 
the agreement at the first oppor- 
tunity. It Avas therefore resolved 
not to let the captives go until the 
British Government should ratify 
the terms of the capitulation. Here 
was a dilemma. That Government 
could not recognize the authority 
of Congress. So the " convention troops," as the captives were called, 
were sent to Virginia, and they remained idle in America four or five 
years. Burgoyne and his chief officers were allowed to depart for. home. 
The surrender of Burgoyne was a turning-point in the war in favor of 
the Americans. It inspirited the patriots ; revived the credit of the 
Continental Government ; the armies were rapidly recruited, and public 
opinion in Europe set strongly in favor of the struggling patriots. In 
less than four months after this event France had formed a treaty of 
alliance with the United States and acknowledged their independence. 




While General Burgoyne was struggling for victory and conquest in 
the upper valley of the Hudson, General Sir Henry Clinton, whom 
Howe had left in command at New York, was making earnest endeavors 
to ai^ him and to gain possession of tlie country between Albany and the 

At the lower entrance to the Highlands the Americans had erected 
two forts— " Clinton" and "Montgomery" — on the west side of the 
Hudson. Thej'^ were upon a high, rocky shore, one on each side of a 
small stream. Between these forts and Anthony's Nose (a lofty hill) 
opposite they had stretched a boom and chain, as we have observed, to 
check British vessels ascending the river. These forts were under the 
immediate command of Generals George and James Clinton, the former 
then Governor of the State of New York. There was another fort 
(" Constitution") tipon an island opposite West Point. They were all 
under the chief command of the veteran General Israel Putnam, whose 
headquarters was at Peekskill, just below the Highlands. The garrisons 
of these posts were weak at the beginning of October (1777), the aggre- 
gate number of troops not exceeding two thousand. 

Sir Henry Clinton had waited at New York very impatiently for the 
arrival of re-enforcements. They came at the beginning of October, 
after floating upon the bosom of the Atlantic Ocean about three months. 
On the morning of the 4tli he went up the Hudson with between three 
and four thousand troops, in many armed and unarmed vessels com- 
manded by Commodore Hotham, and landed his men at Yerplanck's 
Point, a few miles below Peekskill, feigning an attack upon the latter 
post. This feint deceived Putnam, and he sent to the Highland forts 
for re-enforcements. But Governor Clinton was not deceived, and held 
back all the forces in the Highlands. 

At dawn on the morning of October 6th, under cover of a dense fog^ 
Sir Henry crossed the river to Stony Point with a little more than two 
thousand men. He there divided his forces. One party under General 
Vaughan, accompanied by the baronet, pushed on through a defile in 
the rear of tlie lofty Donderberg to fall upon Fort Clinton. The party 
numbered about twelve hundred. Another party nine hundred strong, 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, made a longer march around Bear 



Mountain, to fall npon Fort Montgomery at the same time. Sir Henry 
had ordered his war vessels to anchor within point-blank cannon-shot of 
the forts to co-operate in an attack upon them. On the borders of Lake 
Sinnipink, at the foot of Bear Mountain, Vaughan encountered some 
troops sent out by Governor Clinton, and a severe but short battle ensued. 
The Americans fell back to the fort. Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell ap- 
peared before Fort Montgomery toward evening, when a peremptory 
demand for tiie surrender of both posts was made. It was refused with 

words of scorn, when a simultaneous 
attack was made upon both forts by 
the forces on land and water. The 
garrisons, mostly militia, held out 
bravely until dark, when theysought 
safety in the adjacent mountains. 
Many were slain or made prisoners. 
Governor Clinton escaped across 
the river, and at midnight M'as in 
Putnam's camp at Peekskill. His 
brother (General James Clinton), 
badly wounded, made his way over 
the mountains to his home at New 
Windsor. The frigate Montgomery, 
a ten-gun sloop, and a row-galley 
lying above the boom attempted 
to escape, but could not for want of 
wind, so their crews set them on fire and abandoned them. The con- 
flagration was a magnificent spectacle. A British officer wrote con- 
cerning it : 

" The flames suddenly broke forth, and as every sail was set the 
vessels soon became magnificent pyramids of fire. The reflection on 
the steep face of the opposite mountain, and the long train of ruddy 
light which shone upon the waters for a prodigious distance, had a 


* General James Clinton was born in Orange County, N. Y., in 1736, and died there 
in 1812. He was fond of military life. At the age of twenty-two lie was a captain 
tnider Bradstreet in the capture of Fort Frontenac. He was afterward in command of 
four regiments for the protection of the frontiers of Ulster and Orange counties. When 
the war for independence began he was appointed colonel of the Third New York 
Regiment, and accompanied Montgomery to Quebec. He was make a brigadier- general 
in August, 1776, and was active in the service during a greater part of the war. He 
joined Sullivan's expedition against the Indians in 1779, and wjxs stationed at Albany 
most of the time afterAvard ; yet he was present at the surrender of Cornwallis. He 
lield civil offices after the war. General Clinton was the father of De Witt Clinton. 




wonderful effect ; while the ear was awfully filled with the continued 

eclioes from the rock}' shores as the flames gradually reached the loaded 

cannon. The whole was sublimely terminated by the explosion, which 

left all again in dark- 
ness. " 

The boom and chain 

were broken by the 

British early on the 

morning of the 7th, 

and a flying squadron 

of liffht vessels com- 

manded by Sir James 

Wallace, bearing the 

whole land force of 

Sir Henry Clinton, 

went up the Hudson 

to devastate its shores 

and keep the militia 

from joining Gates. 

They took possession 

of Fort Constitution 

on the way. At the same time Sir Henry despatched a messenger with 

a note to Burgoyne, as follows : 

^^JSfous y void [Here I am], and nothing between me and Gates. I 

sincerely hope this little success of ours may facilitate your operations. 
In answer to your letter of September 28th by 
C. C, I shall only say I cannot presume to order, 
or even to advise, for reasons obvious. I wish 
you success. — H. Clinton." 

This despatch was written on tissue paper and 
enclosed in an elliptical hollow silver bullet made 
so as to be opened at the middle, and of a size 
to be swallowed conveniently. The messenger 
was sent up the west side of the river, and while 
in the camp of Governor Clinton, near New 
"Windsor, lie was suspected of being a spy. He 
was arrested, and was seen to suddenly put 
his mouth and swallow it. An emetic was administered, 

when the silver bullet was discovered and its contents were revealed. 

He was hanged as a spy not far from Kingston while that village was in 

flames, kindled by the hands of British incendiaries. 


something in 


The British troops in tlie maraudino^ expedition, thirty-six hundred 
strong, were connnanded by General Vaughan. Every vessel found on 
the river was burned or otherwise destroyed. The houses of known 
Whigs on tlie sliores were lired upon, and small parties landing from the 
vessels desolated neighborhoods with fire and sword. They penetrated 
as far north as Kingston (Ulster County), then the political capital of 
the State, and applying the torcli (October 13th), laid almost every house 
in the village in ashes. The Legislature fled to Duchess County, and 
soon afterward resumed their sittings {),t Pouglikeepsie. 

Leaving Kingston, the marauders went up the river as far as Living- 
ston's Manor, destroying much property at Rhinebeck on the way. 
They had begun to desolate Livingston's estate wlien they were arrested 
by the alarming intelligence of Burgoyne's defeat. Then they made a 
hasty retreat to New York. 

So ended the efforts of the British Ministry for taking possession of 
the valleys of the Hudson and Lake Champlain. On the surrender of 
Burgoyne the invaders were compelled to evacuate Ticonderoga and 
Crown Point. British power was now prostrated in the northern section 
of New York, and the Americans were masters of the territory of the 
commonMcalth from the borders of Canada almost to the sea. 

While the events just recorded were occurring in the vicinity of the 
Hudson or North River, very important events were occurring beyond 
the Delaware or the South River. For several weeks Washington and 
Howe confronted each other in hostile movements in New Jersey, each 
doubtful of the intentions of the other. Finally, at the close of June, 
the British troops left New Jersey and passed over to Staten Island ; and 
on July 23d Howe, leaving Sir Henry Clinton in command at New 
York, embarked with eighteen thousand troops for more southern waters. 

Suspecting Howe's destination to be the Continental seat of govern- 
ment, Washington, leaving a strong force on the Hudson, hastened to 
Philadelphia, where he was joined by the young Marquis de Lafayette as 
a volunteer. Hearing that the British army had landed at the head of 
Chesapeake Bay, he pushed on to meet Howe. They came in collision 
on the banks of the Brand3'wine Creek on September 11th, when a very 
severe battle was fought. The Americans were defeated, and their 
shattered bnttalions retreated to Philadelphia. 

So soon as his troops were rested Washington recrossed the Schuylkill 
and proceeded to confront Howe, who was slowly moving toward the 
Continental capital. Some skirmishing occurred, and on the night of 
September 20tli a detachment under General Wayne was surprised near 
the Paoli Tavern and lost about three hundred men. 


While "Washington was engaged in securing his stores at Reading, 
Howe suddenly crossed the Schuylkill and took possession of Philadelphia 
(September 26th, 1777) without opposition. The Continental Congress 
fled at his approach, lirst to Lancaster and then to York, beyond the 
Susquehanna. It reassembled at York on September 30th, and con- 
tinued its sessions there until the following summer. The British army 
encamped at Germantown, about four miles from Philadelphia. 

Howe's troops had landed at the head of Chesapeake iiay. While 
they were pressing on toward Philadelphia the fleet that bore them sailed 
round to the Delaware, but could not pass obstructions which had been 
placed in the river just below the city. Above these obstructions were 
two forts, Mifliin, upon an island, and Mercer, upon the New Jersey 
shore. These were captured by Britons and Germans sent from Howe's 
camp, after stout resistance. Thoy took possession of the forts before 
the middle of Xovember. This conquest greatly strengthened Howe's 

Meanwhile the British camp at Germantown had been attacked early 
on the morning of October 4th. A severe battle ensued, which con- 
tinued nearly three hours. The Americans, who became confused by a 
dense fog that began to rise at dawn, were defeated, and retired to their 
camp on Skippack Creek, Washington soon prepared to put them into 
winter quarters at Whitemarsh, only fourteen miles from Philadelphia. 
Howe broke up his encampment at Germantown, and made Philadelphia 
the winter quarters of his army. 

AVashington did not remain long at Whitemarsh, for he found a more 
eligible position. He broke up the camp toward the middle of December 
and removed to, Valley Forge, where he was at a greater distance from 
his foe and could more easily protect the Congress, and his stores at 
Reading. For about six months the American army lay at Yalley Forge, 
and suffered intensely for want of sufficient food, clothing, and shelter 
during the first half of that period. It was the severest ordeal in which 
the patriotism of the soldiers was tried during the long war for inde- 

It was at this period that the conspiracy of General Gates and others 
to deprive Washington of the chief command of the x\merican armies 
was in active operation — a conspiracy known in history as " Conway's 
Cabal."* Gates was then president of the Board of War, sitting at 

* Count de Conway, of Irish birth, was among the French brigadiers in the Con- 
tinental service. He never won the confidence of Washington, and when it was proposed 
to promote him to an important command tlie commander-in-chief strenuously opposed 


York, the residence of Congress. That Board planned a winter cam- 
paign against Canada. So feasible seemed the plan and so glorious were 
the results to be obtained, as set forth by Gates and his friends, that 
Congress approved. The ardent Lafayette was captivated, and strongly 
urged its prosecution. Washington was not consulted. He, however, 
obtained such valuable information from General Schuyler, showing the 
absurdity of the undertaking, that he not only perceived the plan to be a 
part of the scheme to deprive him of the chief command, but he was 
enabled to defeat the project iind thus save his country from a most 
perilous, if not ruinous undertaking. 

The Board of War, evidently hoping to win Lafayette to the support 
of their schemes by conferring honors upon him, appointed him com- 
mander of the expedition. This also was done without consulting Wash- 
ington. The shrewd young marquis very soon suspected his appoiiit- 
jnent was a part of the scheme to injure his revered friend, and he 
resolved to show his colors at the tirst opportunity. His suspicions were 
confirmed while on a visit to York to receive his instructions. At table, 
with Gates and other members of the Board of War, wine flowed freely 
and many toasts were given. Lafayette finally arose and said : 

" Gentlemen, one toast, I perceive, has been omitted, and which I 
will now give." They filled their glasses, when he gave, "The com- 
mander-in-chief of the American armies." The coldness with which the 
sentiment was received confirmed the marquis's worst opinions of the 
men around him. 

Lafayette, with General Conway, who was appointed third in com- 
mand, proceeded to Albany, where he was cordially received by General 
Schuyler, and became his guest. It was evident that with materials at 
hand a successful expedition into Canada was iinpossible. The marquis 
had been promised three thousand men well supplied. There were not 
twelve hundred men at Albany fit for duty, and one fourth of these were 
too naked even for a summer campaign. Gates had assured him that 
General Stark with New England troops would be at Ticonderoga await- 
ing his coming, and that he would have burned the British fleet on Lake 
Champlain before his arrival. He only found a letter from Stark inquir- 
ing what number of men, from where, and at what rendezvous he desired 
hijn to raise. 

The marquis now fully comprehended the vile trick of which he had 

the measure. Conway was offended, and became a willing instrument of Gates in his 
conspiracy. The prominent part whicli he took in that movement caused it to be called 
" Conway's Cabal." 


been made the victim. He had been utterly deceived by the false utter- 
ances of Gates. "I fancy," be wrote, "the actual scheme is to have 
me out of this part of the country and General Conway as chief under 
the immediate command of Gates." The conspirators found they could 
not use Lafayette. Congress abandoned the enterprise, and the marquis, 
disgusted with the whole aJBFair, returned to Washington's camp at Valley 

The British held possession of Fort Niagara and exercised a powerful 
influence over the Six Nations, especially the more western tribes. They 
had nearly all become more or less disaffected toward the American 
cause, and at the close of 1777, so threatening became their aspect, that 
Congress recommended the Commissioners of Indian Affairs of New 
York to hold a treaty with them, defining the chief objects to be (1) to 
induce the Indians to make war upon their enemies, who were then 
desolating the frontier settlements of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and 
(2) to induce them to surprise and capture the British post of Niagara. 

The commissioners complied. A council was opened at Johnstown 
early in March (1778), at which about seven hundred barbarian delegates 
appeared. Lafayette accompanied the commissioners. James Deane, 
an Indian agent living among the Oneidas, was the interpreter of a 
speech sent by Congress and read by General Schuyler, in which the 
power of the United States was asserted most emphatically, and the 
magnanimous manner in which they had always treated the Six Nations 
was recounted. The speech charged the Indians wath ingratitude, 
cruelty, and treachery, and demanded reparation for their crimes. From 
these charges the Oneidas and Tuscaroras were exempted. 

The council was not satisfactory. The Mohawks and Cayugas were 
sullen ; the Senecas refused to send delegates. An Oneida sachem, con- 
scious of the faithfulness of his people (and also of the Tuscaroras) to 
their pledges of neutrality, spoke eloquently in behalf of both, and these 
two nations renewed their pledges. It was clearly evident, however, 
that the more powerful of the Six Nations, with Brant at their head, 
were devising scliemes for avenging their losses at Oriskany, and that war 
was inevitable. " It is strange," said the Senecas, by a messenger sent 
to announce their refusal to attend the conference, " that M'hile your 
tomahawks are sticking in our heads [referring to the battle of Oriskany], 
our wounds bleeding, and our eyes streaming with tears for the loss of 
our friends, the commissioners should think of inviting us to a treaty." 

Earnest efforts were made to avert war with the Indians. Attempts 
to recruit four hundred warriors of the Six Nations for the Continental 
service were only partially successful. When the news of the alliance 


with France was received, early in May, it was circulated as widely as 
possible among the Iroquois tribes. But little impression seemed to have 
been made upon the barbarians, and the white people began at once to 
make preparations to meet hostility. At Cherry Vulley the house of 
Samuel Campbell, the strongest in the settlement, was fortified ; and in 
the Schoharie Valley three buildings were intrenched with breastworks 
and block-houses and stockaded, by order of Lafayette. Each was 
garrisoned and armed with a small brass field-piece. These were called 
respectively the Upper, the Middle, and the Lower Fort. To these 
strongholds the women and children might fly for safety. Forts Schuyler 
and Dayton (the latter on the site of the village of Herkimer) were 
strengthened, and Fort Plain, lower down the Mohawk Valley, was 
enlarged and better armed. 

These precautionary movements were not made too soon. They were 
keenly watched by Sir John Johnson and his kinsmen and friends. 
Among tliom the most active were Colonels John Butler, Guy Johnson, 
and Daniel Claas, the latter Sir John's brother-in-law. At the same 
time a nephew of Sir Guy Carleton was lurking near Johnson Hall for 
the same purpose. 

We have observed that Brant returned from Canada in the spring of 
1777 with a large band of Mohawk warriors. After the dispersion of 
St. Leger's invading force, in August, Brant and his followers retired to 
Fort Niagara, and there during the ensuing winter and spring they made 
jjreparations ior war. 

Early in the spring of 1778 Brant and his warriors appeared at 
Oghkwaga, their place of rendezvous the previous year. There he 
organized scalping parties and sent them out upon the borderers, cutting 
them ofT in detail. They fell like thunderbolts upon isolated families. 
Very soon the hills and valleys were nightly illuminated by the blaze of 
burning dwellings and made hideous by the shrieks of women and 
children. The inhabitants stood continually on the defensive. Men 
cultivated the fields with loaded muskets slung upon their backs. 
Women were taught the use of fire-arms, and half -grown children 
became expert scouts and discerners of Indian trails. Such was the con- 
dition of the settlers in the Mohawk region and the country south of it 
during a greater portion of the war. 

In May (1778) Brant desolated Springfield, at the head of Otsego 
Lake, ten miles from Cherry Valley. Every house was laid in ashes. 
At the beginning of June he was in the Schoharie Valley with about 
three hundred and fifty Indian followers, and on the upper waters of the 
Cobleskill he had a severe encounter with some regulars and militia com- 


manded by Captains Brown and Patrick. Twenty-two of tlio Repub- 
licans were killed and several were wounded. The houses in that resrion 
were phmdered and burnt. A month later the terrible tragedy in the 
Wyoming Valley (to be noticed presently) occurred. 

The Johnsons and their Tory followers were the allies of the barbarians 
in their bloody work south of the Mohawk River. The most savage of 
these Tories was Walter K. Butler, son of Colonel John Butler, who 
was in command of a detachment of his father's liaiKjers and had joined 
Brant. The latter, who was humane and even generous toward women 
and children placed at his mercy,* detested young Butler for his 
cruelties, and at first refused to serve with him. The matter was finally 
adjusted, and at near the middle of November (1778), during a heavy 
storm of sleet, the two leaders and their followers fell upon Cherry 
Valley, the wealthiest and most important settlement on the head-waters 
of the Susquehanna River, in Isew York. 

A fort had been erected at Cherry Valley around a church by order of 
Lafayette, and was garrisoned by some Continental troops commanded 
by Colonel Ichabod Alden. lie was forewarned by reports of approach- 
ing danger, but would not believe the messengers. He was therefore 
unprepared for an attack when, early in the morning of November 11th, 
snow, rain, and hail falling copiously, the motley hosts of Brant and 
Butler burst upon the settlement. They murdered, plundered, and 
destroyed without stint. Butler was the arch-fiend on that occasion, 
and would listen to no appeals from Brant for mercy to their victims. 

The invaders first entered the house of Mr. Wells, whose wife was a 
daughter of the venerable minister, Mr. Dnnlap. They massacred the 
whole family. Only his son John, afterward the eminent laM^yer of 
New York, who was then at school in Schenectady, was saved. The 
family consisted of Mr. Wells, his wife and four children, his mother, 
brother, sister, and three servants. Colonel Alden, who was in the 
house at the time, was tomahawked and scalped. The savages then 
rushed to the dwelling of Rev. Mr. Dunlap and slew his wife before his 

* Many instances of Brant's humanity are related. When, in 1780, he and Sir John 
Johnson desolated the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys an infant was carried off. The 
frantic mother pursued, but could not recover her babe. A' day or two afterward 
General Van Rensselaer, in command of Fort Hunter, received a visit from a young 
Indian bearing the infant in his arms, and a letter from Brant, who wrote : " Sir : I 
send you by one of my runners the child which he will deliver, that you may know that 
whatever others may do, /do not make war upon women and children. I am sorry to 
say that I have those engaged with me who are more savage than the savages them- 
selves. " He named the Butlers and others. 


ejes. His own life and tliat of his daughter were saved by the inter- 
position of a Mohawk chief.* 

Thirty-two of the inhabitants of Cherry Valley, mostly women and 
children, were murdered ; also sixteen soldiers of the garrison there. 
Nearly forty men, women, and children were led away captives, march- 
ing down the valley that night in the cold storm, huddled together, half 
naked, with no shelter but the leafless trees, and no resting-place but the 
cold, wet ground. t With the destruction of Cherry Valley all hostile 
movements ceased in Tryon County, and were not resumed until the 
following spring. 

A few months before this event the dreadful tragedy in the Wyoming 
Valley occurred, in which the chief actors were Tories and Iroquois 
Indians from New York. That valley is a beautiful and picturesque 
region of Pennsylvania, lying between lofty ranges of mountains and 
watered by the Susquehanna Hiver, which flows through it. Its inhab- 
itants were mostly from Connecticut. At the close of June (1778) 
Colonel John Butler, with over a thousand Tories and Indians, entered 
the valley from the north and made his headquarters at the house of 
Wintermoot, a Tory. He had been guided by some Tories of the valley, 
who had joined them. Butler had captured a little fort in the upper 
part of the valley. 

* Unfortunately, Brant was not in chief command of the expedition. Walter Butler 
was the commander. Brant did all in his power to prevent the shedding of innocent 
blood. On the morning of the attack he left the Indians and endeavored to reach the 
families of Mr. Wells, Mr. Dunlap, and others, to give them warning, but could not do 
it in time. He entered dwellings to give the women warning. In one the woman 
engaged in household duties replied to his advice to tiy to some place of safety : " I am 
in favor of the king, and the Indians won't hurt me." 

" That plea will not save you," Brant replied. 

" There is one, Joseph Brant," said the woman ; "he will protect me." 

" I am Joseph Brant, but I have not the command, and I may not be able to save 
you," he replied. 

At that moment he saw the Senecas approaching. "Get into bed quick," he said, 
" and feign yourself sick." 

The woman did so, and so he saved her. Then he gave a shrill signal, which rallied 
the Mohawks, when he directed them to paint his mark upon the woman and her 

" You are now probably safe," said Brant, and departed. 

f Among the captives were the wife and four children of Colonel Samuel Campbell, 
whose liouse had been fortified. He was absent at the time, and on his return he found 
his property laid waste and his family carried into captivity. They were taken through 
the wilderness to Fort Niagara. They were treated kindly by the Senecas, and were 
held as hostages for the safety and exchange of the family of Colonel John Butler, who 
were then in the custody of the Committee of Safety at Albany. 


The whole military force to oppose this invasion was composed of a 
small company of regulars and a few militia. When the alarm was 
given the whole population flew to arms. Aged men, boys, and even 
women seized such weapons as were at hand and joined the soldiery. 
Colonel Zebulon Butler, an officer of the Continental Army, happened to 
be at home, and by common consent he was made commander-in-chief 
of the defenders. Forty Fort, a short distance above Wilkesbarre, was 
the place of general rendezvous, and in it were gathered the women and 
children of tlie valley. 

On July 3d Colonel Butler led his little band of patriots — citizens and 
soldiers — to attempt a surprise of the camp of the invaders at Winter- 
moot's. The latter, informed of the movement, were ready to receive 
them. The Tories formed the right of the line of the intruders, resting 
on the river ; the Indians, led by Gi-en-gwa-tah, a Seneca chief,* were 
on the left on a line that extended to a swamp at the foot of the moun- 
tain. Upon the latter the defenders struck the first blow, when a 
general battle ensued. For half an hour it raged furiously, when, just 
as the Indians were about to give way, a mistaken order caused the 
Republicans to retreat in much confusion. The infuriated barbarians 
sprang forward like wounded tigers and gave no quarter. The patriots 
were slaughtered by scores. Only a few of them escaped to the moun- 
tains and were saved. In less than an hour after the battle began two 
hundred and twenty-five scalps were in the hands of the Seneca braves. 

Terror now reigned at Forty Fort, to which the women and children 
had fled. They had heard the fearful yells of triumph of the Indians. 
Colonel Dennison, who had reached the valley that morning, had escaped 
to the fort and prepared to defend its inmates to the last extremity. 
Colonel Zebulon Butler had reached Wilkesbarre fort in safety. 

* The earlier historians of this event asserted (and believed) that Brant and the Mohawks 
were the chief actors in this dreadful tragedy. Brant denied it, but the testimony of 
history was against him. Campbell, in his poem, " Gertrude of Wyoming," published in 
1809, misled by the historians, makes an Oneida chief say : 

" 'Gainst Brant himself I went to battle forth ; 
Accursed Brant ! he left, of all my tribe, 
Nor man, nor child, nor thing of living birth — 
No ! not the dog that watched my household hearth 
Escaped that night of blood upon the plains." 

In 1823 John Brant, son of the chief, being in England, opened a correspondence with 
Campbell on the subject of the injustice done to his father in the poem. Partial justice 
was accorded in the next edition of " Gertrude of Wyoming." The poet, after noting 
in a note the proofs of error which had been furnished him, .said : " The name of Brant, 
therefore, remains in my poem a pure and declared character of flctioe." He did not 
alter the poem, however, and so it remains. 



Darkness put an end to the conflict, but increased the horrors of the 
scene. Prisoners were tortured and murdered. Sixteen of them were 
arranged around a low rock, and while held by strong men were nearly 
all murdered by a tomahawk and club used alternately by a half-blood 
woman called Queen Esther. Two of them threw off the barbarians who 
lield them and escaped to the mountains. 

On the following morning Forty Fort was surrendered. Colonel John 
Butler promised the inmates protection of their persons and property, 
and they went back to their homes ; but so soon as the Tory leader left 
tlie valley tlie Indians who lingered spread over the plain, and with 
torch, tomahawk, and scalping-knifesoon made it an absolute desolation. 

Scarcely a dwelling or an 
outbuilding was left uncon- 
sunied. Not a field of grain 
was left standing ; not a 
life was spared which the 
barbarians could reach. The 
inhabitants who had not fled 
during the previous night 
were slauglitered or nar- 
rowly escaped. Those who 
departed made their .way 
toward Connecticut. Many 
perished in the great swamp 
on Pocono Mountains, ever 
since known as " The 
Shades of Death." 

Tlie details of the deso- 
lation of the beautiful Wy- 
oming Valley and of tlie 
horrors of the flight of the survivors of the massacre form one of the 
darkest chapters in human history. The British secretary for the colonies 
(Lord George Germaine) praised the barbarians for their prowess and 
humanit}', and resolved to direct a succession of similar raids upon the 
frontiers, and to devastate the older American settlements. "After- 
ward among the cxtraordinaries of the army," said a bishop in the House 
of Lords, " was an order for seal ping- knives." 

Very important events outside of the State of New York occurred 
during the year 1778. In general interest the most important was the 
arrival, at the beginning of May, of the cheering news that a treaty of 
alliance between Franco and the United States had been signed at Paris 




on February 6tb. The glad tidings greatly inspirited the Americans. 
Almost simultaneously appeared a gleam of hope emanating from the 
British throne and Parliament. The general failure of the campaign of 
1777, ending in the capture of Burgoyne's army, made the English 
people and a powerful minority in Parliament clamorous for peace. 
Commissioners were sent to America to attempt a settlement of the dis- 
pute. They were authorized to treat with Congress as a competent 
body ; but the conciliatory measures they were empowered to agree to 
did not include a proposition for the independence of the United States. 
Their mission was therefore a failure. 

The English ministry, regarding the alliance with France as equivalent 
to a declaration of war on the part of tliat country, felt much anxiety 
for the safety of their army at Philadelphia and their navy on the Dela- 
ware River, especially Avhen informed that the French were fitting out a 
fleet for American waters. Orders were sent to Howe to evacuate Phila- 
delphia, and to his brother (the admiral) to leave the Delaware and pro- 
ceed to New York. The land and naval forces were ordered to concen- 
trate there. The French Government sent twelve ships of the line and 
four frigates, under the Count d'Estaing, to blockade the British fleet on 
the Delaware. The latter had escaped to sea a few days before the 
arrival of D'Estaing at the mouth of that river, and found safety on the 
waters of Amboy or Raritan Bay, into which the h.eavy French vessels 
could not enter. 

General Sir Henry Clinton had succeeded General Sir William Howe 
in command of the army at Philadelphia when the order came for the 
evacuation of that city. He instantly obeyed the order, and on June 
18th (1778) passed the Delaware with eleven thousand troops, and 
attempted a flight across New Jersey to New York by way of New 
Brunswick and Amboy. His design was frustrated by Washington, 
who left Yalley Forge with a renovated army stronger in numbers than 
that of his foe, crossed the Delaware, and compelled Clinton to turn his 
face toward Sandy Hook. 

Washington pushed on vigorously in pursuit of the fugitive army. 
He overtook the British near Monmouth Court-House, and there a 
sanguinary battle was fought on Sunday, June 28tli — an exceedingly hot 
day. Darkness ended the conflict without any decisive result. The 
Americans slept on their arms, determined to renew the struggle the 
next morning ; but Clinton stole away silently in the darkness at mid- 
night unobserved by the wearied Americans, reached Sandy Hook in 
safety, and proceeded to New York by water. Washington did not 
pursue. He marched to the Hudson River, crossed into Westchester 


Coiintj, remained there until the autumn, and then recrossed into New 
Jersey, and made his winter quarters at Middlebrook, on the Raritan. 
Clinton lost about six hundred men by desertion during his flight across 
New Jersey. 

At this time the British were in possession of Rhode Island. At the 
request of Washington, D'Estaing proceeded to Newport to assist Gen- 
erals Sullivan and Lafayette in driving them from the island. On the 
arrival of the fleet the Americans crossed over from the main to Rhode 
Island and pressed on toward the British camp. At that moment Howe, 
with a strongly re-enforced fleet, appeared. D'Estaing went out to meet 
him. A terrible storm dispersed and shattered both fleets. The French 
vessels hastened to Boston for repairs, leaving the Americans, who had 
been promised four thousand troops from the Gallic ships, in a perilous 
situation. Tliey fell back to the northern end of the island pursued by 
the British. A severe battle was fought upon Quaker Hill (August 
29th), in which the Americans were victorious. The next morning the 
latter withdrew to the main, leaving the British still in possession of Rhode 
Island ; but they were in the real position of prisoners. Such also was 
their position at New York until D'Estaing sailed for the West Indies 
late in the autumn, when Sir Henry Clinton sent two thousand troops, 
under Colonel Campbell, to invade Georgia, then the weakest member of 
the Confederacy. After some resistance the British took possession of 
Savannah, and it became the headquarters of the British army in the 
South for some time. 



Sib Henry Clinton * was in command of a force of over sixteen 
thousand men in the spring of 1779, yet his instructions confined him to 
a predatory warfare upon the coasts. In May a squadron commanded 
by Sir George Collier conveyed transports and galleys bearing twenty- 
five hundred troops, under General Matthews, to the waters in South- 
eastern Virginia. The commanders sent out parties against Norfolk and 
other places on the Elizabeth River and the neighborhood, to seize or 
destroy an immense quantity of naval and military stores and other prop- 
erty gathered there. That whole region was ravaged and made a scene 
of plunder and conflagration. Soon afterward these forces appeared at 
New York to join Sir Henry Clinton in an expedition up the Hudson 

After the capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery in the Highlands, 
"West Point and Constitution Island opposite were strengthened by forti- 
fications, and forts were erected upon Stony Point and Verplanck's 
Point opposite, a few miles lielow the Highlands. Fort Fayette, upon 
Yerplanck's Point, was completed in the early summer of 1779, but that 
on Stony Point was then unfinished. These forts were to serve the 
double purpose of protecting the King's Ferry, on the Hudson, the most 
direct and convenient communication between the Eastern and Middle 
States, and of disputing the passage of British vessels through the High- 

At the close of May, Collier's vessels, seventy in number, great and 
small (and one hundred and fifty flat-boats), bore Sir Henry Clinton and 
a land force, under General Vaughan, up the Hudson, to attempt the 
capture of the two posts last mentioned. The troops were landed before 
dawn on May 31st, a part of them, under Vaughan, a few miles below 
Verplanck's Point, and the remainder, led by the baronet, a little below 
Stony Point. The handful of men at the latter place set tire to the 

* Sir Henry Clinton was a son of Admiral Sir George Clinton, colonial Governor of 
New York, and born in 1738. He died in 1795. He entered the army when quite 
young, and rose to the rank of major-general in 1775, when he was sent to America with 
Howe and Burgoyne. He was active during the war with the American colonies until 
1782, when he returned to England. He had succeeded Sir William Howe as com- 
mander-in-chief of the British forces in America in 1778. 


block-lioTise there, abandoned tlie unfinished fort, and fled to the moun- 
tains. Heavy artillery was dragged to the crest of the rocky promontor}' 
and turned upon Fort Fayette, wliile Yaughan's troops and tlie vessels 
joined in an attack upon that post. The little garrison of seventy men 
v/ere compelled to surrender. Sir Henry garrisoned both posts, and pro- 
ceeded to finish, arm, and man the fort at Stony Point. 

Meanwhile "Washington, believing Sir Henry's object to be the seizure 
of the Highland forts, had advanced his army toward the river moun- 
tains, and made his headquarters at New Windsor, above the Highlands. 
This movement checked Sir Henry's designs. He soon returned to 
New York, and sent Collier's vessels on a marauding expedition to the 
shores of Connecticut, They bore about twenty-five hundred British 
and Hessian (as the (xermans were called) marauders, commanded by ex- 
Governor Tryon, who seemed to find the errand congenial to his nature 
He made the Hessians his incendiaries and executors of his most cruel 

The expedition left New York on the night of July 3d (1779), and in 
the space of a week laid waste and carried away a vast amount of private 
property, and cruelly abused the inhabitants. They plundered New 
Haven on the 5th ; laid East Haven in ashes on the 6th ; destroyed 
Fairfield by fire on the 8th, and plundered and burned Norwalk on the 
12th. The soldiers were given free license to abuse and oppress the 
defenceless inhabitants. While Norwalk was in flames Tryon sat in a 
rocking-chair upon a hill in the neighborhood, a delighted spectator of 
the ruin wrought by his orders. In allusion to this and kindred expedi- 
tions Trumbull, in his " McFingal," makes Malcolm say : 

" Behold ! like whelp of British lion, 
Our warriors, Clinton, Vuiighan, and Tryon, 
Marc;h forth with patriotic joy 
To ravish, plunder, and destroy. 
Great generals, foremost in their nation. 
The journeymen of Desolation, 
Like Samson's foxes, each assails. 
Let loose with firebrands in their tails, 
And spread destruction more forlorn 
Than they among Philistines' corn." 

The British finished, armed, and garrisoned the fort on Stony Point 
early in July. The Americans resolved to capture it. The impetuous 
General Wayne * was then in command of some infantry in the High- 

* Autliony Wayne was born in Chester County, Penn., January 1st, 1745 ; diwl at 
Presque Isle (now Erie), Penn., December ir)th, 1796. His father was commander of a 



y PZ 

lands. He proposed to surprise tlie garrison and take the foi-t l^y storm. 
^' Can you do it ?" asked Washington. 

" I'll storm hell if you'll plan it," said Wayne. 

Washington gave him permission to undertake Stony Point first. 
Leading a few hundred men secretly through a mountain pass, AVayne 
was within half a mile of the rocky 
promontory on the evening of July 
15tli. They stealthily approached 
the only accessible way to the fort, 
across a marshy strait by a narrow 
causeway in the rear. They reached 
that point at midnight. After pass- 
ing the causeway the little force was 
divided into two columns to make 
the attack at different points. With 
loaded nmskets and fixed bayonets 
they marched up to the attack, pre- 
ceded by a " forlorn hope" of picked 
men to make openings in an abatis 
at designated points of assault. 

The assailants had nearly reached 
the abatis before they were discov- 
ered. The alarmed sentinels fired 
their muskets, when the startled 

garrison flew to arms. The stillness of that hot summer night was sud- 
denly broken by the rattle of musketry and the roar of cannons from the 
ramparts. In tiie face of a terrible tempest of bullets and grape-shot the 
assailants forced their way into the fort at the point of the bayonet. 
Wayne, who led one of the divisions in person, had been brought to his 
knees by a stunning blow from a musket-ball that grazed his head. 


squadron of dragoon-s under William III. of England at the battle of the Boyne. After 
hi.s marriage Anthony became a farmer and a .surveyor. He wa.s a member of the Penn- 
sylvania Legislature in 1774-75 ; became a colonel in the Continental army in 1776 ; went 
with his regiment to Canada in that year ; was wounded in battle, and early in 1777 was 
commis.sioned a brigadier. He was in the battle of Brandywine, September 11th, 1776. 
and a few nights afterward his camp, near the Paoli Tavern, on the road between Phila- 
delphia and Lancaster, was assailed by a British force, and many of his men were slain. 
He was in the battles of Germantown and Monmouth, and he captured Stony Point, on 
the Hudson, in July, 1779. Wayne did admirable service in the Southern States during 
the remainder of the war. In 1792 he became general-in-chief of the armies of the United 
States. He brought the Indians in the North-west to peaceful relations, and was stationed 
at Presque Isle at the time of his death. Brave almost to rashness, he received the title 
of " Mad Anthony." 



Believing himself mortally wounded, he exclaimed : " March on ! 
Carry me into the fort, for 1 will die at the head of my column." He 
soon recovered, and at two o'clock in the morning he wrote to Wash- 
ington : 

'' The fort and garrison, with General Johnston, are ours. Our 
officers and men behaved like men determined to be free." Wayne also 
wrote in a subsequent despatch : " The humanity of our soldiers, 


who scorned to take the lives of a vanquished foe when calling for 
mercy, reflects the highest honor on them, and accounts for the few of 
the enemy killed on the occasion." 

Johnston, the commander of the fort, and five hundred and forty- 
three men were made prisoners. He had sixty-three killed. The 
Americans lost one hundred men killed and wounded. The British 
shipping lying in the river near by slipped their cables and moved down 
the stream. The Americans attempted to capture Fort Fayette, but 


failed. Unable to hold and garrison the fort in Stony Point, they 
removed the heavy ordnance and stores to West Point and abandoned 
the post. The British repossessed it a few days afterward. 

The terrible atrocities of bands of the Six Nations in 1778 around the 
head-waters of the Susquehanna and their vicinity and in the valley of 
Wyoming impelled the Americans to the exercise of vengeance against 
them in the most effectual manner. All of these nations, excepting the 
Oneidas and Tuscaroras, had been won over to the side of the crown by 
British emissaries among them, employed by the Johnson family, and 
the task of chastising them would be hard and perilous. A question of 
life or death of the frontier settlements was involved, and the people did 
not hesitate. They cheerfully joined in an expedition to penetrate the 
heart of the Iroquois country, for the purpose of spreading desolation with 
fire and sword, and conquering and securing peace by the force of terror. 

In the spring of 1779 some preliminary movements to this end were 
undertaken. The first was against the Onondagas. Between five and 
six hundred troops, led by Colonels Goose Van Schaick and Marinus 
Willett, left Fort Schuyler on April 19th, and penetrated the heart of 
the Onondaga nation south of (present) Syracuse. They took the bar- 
barians by surprise, destroyed three of their villages, burned their pro- 
visions, and slaughtered their live-stock. It was an unfortunate expedi- 
tion, for it exasperated the Indians and did not spread terror among 
them, as was anticipated. Three hundred Onondaga braves were imme- 
diately sent out upon the war-path charged with the vengeance of the 
nation. They spread terror and desolation far and near in conjunction 
with other members of the Confederacy. They pushed southward to 
the watei^ of the Delaware and the borders of Ulster County. 

On the night of July 19th, Brant, with sixty Mohawks and a band of 
Tories disguised as Indians, fell upon the settlement of Minisink, on the 
Neversink River, in the western part of Orange County, at the foot of 
the Shawangunk Mountains. They destroyed the growing crops, burned 
the church and ten houses, mills, and barns in the neighborhood, and 
retired with considerable plunder without attempting further violence. 

When Colonel Tusten, at Goshen, heard of this raid he hastened with 
one hundred and fifty men (many of them volunteers) to the scene of 
desolation. They held a council, when it was concluded to pursue the 
marauders. Colonel Ilathorn had arrived with a few recruits, and took 
command of the pursuing party. They overtook the main body of them 
near the mouth of Lackawaxen Creek (July 22d), when Brant by a quick 
movement threw his force in liathorn's rear, placing the republicans in 
an ambush. More than fifty men were separated from the main body, 



leaving tlie remainder to sustain the shock of a furious attack. A severe 
conflict ensued, lasting from eleven o'clock in the morning until sunset. 
The republicans were beaten, and were murdered after they were made 

prisoners. Only thirty of 
the nearly three hundred 
pursuers survived to tell 
the sad story of the massa- 
cre. Forty-three years af- 
terward the citizens of 
Orange County caused the 
bones of the slain to be 
gathered and buried near 
the centre of the Green in 
the village of Goshen, and 
over them a neat white 
marble monument was 
erected, bearing the names 
of the slain. A more elegant 
monument commemorative 
of the event was erected by 
order of the supervisors of 
Orange County in 1862. It 
was the gift of the late Dr. 
M. H. Cash. 

A more powerful instru- 
ment for the chastisement of the offending Iroquois was formed in the 
summer of 1779. General Washington ]3laced General John Sullivan * 


* John Sullivan was born "at Berwick, Me., February ITth, 1740 ; died at Durham. 
N. II., January 23d, 1795. lie was a lawyer, a member of the first Continental Congress, 
and in December, 1774, with John Langdon, led a patriot force against Fort William and 
Mary, at Portsmouth, N. H., and took from it one hundred barrels of gunpowder, flft^-u 
cannons, many small-arms and stores. In June, 1775, Sullivan was appointed one of the 
four brigadier-generals of the Continental army ; commanded a portion of the troops that 
liesieged Boston, and after the evacuation, in the spring of 1776, he went witli troops to 
re-enforce tlu; patriot army in Canada. On the death of General Thomas there he took 
the command of the army ; skilfully effected a retreat from that province ; was made 
prisoner in the battle on Long Island in August ; w^as exchanged, and joined Washington 
in Westchester County ; did good .service in the battles at Trenton and Princeton, at 
Bnindywine and Germantown, and in Rhode Island. After his expedition against the 
Lillians in the State of New York he left the army on account of shattered health, and 
took a seat in Congres.s late in 1780. He was attorney-general of New Hampshire from 
1783 to 1786, and president of that commonwealth from 1786 to 1789. From the latter 
date until his death he was United States Judge of New Hampshire. 



in command of a force of Continental soldiers gatliered in the Wyoming 
Valley, where tlie horrible massacre occurred the previous year. He was 
instructed to penetrate the heart of the Iroquois country and desolate it. 

Sullivan left the valley with three thousand men at the close of July, 
marched up the Susquehanna River, and arrived at Tioga Point on 
August 22d. There he was joined hy General eTames Clinton with 
about sixteen hundred men, who came down from Canajoharie, on 
the Mohawk River, by way of Otsego Lake, debarking on the site 
of Cooperstown. The combined 
forces numbered about five thou- 
sand, consisting of the brigades of 
Generals Clinton, Hand, Maxwell, 
and Poor, with Proctor's artille- 
ry and a corps of riflemen. So 
tardily had the expedition moved 
that the British authorities had 
time to send regulars and Tories 
from Canada and Niagara to assist 
the Indians in opposing it. 

Marching up the eastern bank 
of the Chemung River on the 
morning of August 29th, the 
invaders destroyed the growing 
crops, and at length encountered 
a force of regulars, Tories, and 
Indians, strongly fortified, not far 

from the site of (present) Elmira. The Indians were commanded 
by Brant, and the remainder by Sir John Johnson,* the Butlers, and 
Captain McDonald. A fierce engagement ensued, and it was long 
doubtful which party would win the laurels of victory. It was finally 
decided for Sullivan when Proctor's artillery was brought into play and 
dispersed the terrified barbarians. The invading army rested on the 
battle-ground that night, and the next morning pushed on in pursuit of 
the fugitives. 

That pursuit was quick and distressing. The army after a perilous 


* Sir John .Johnson, .son of Sir William, was born in 1742. His mother was a German 
girl. He wtis a stanch and active loyalist ; fled to Canada with several hundred 
followers ; in connection with the Indians desolated the Mohawk Valley and its neighbor- 
hood, and was defeated by General Van Rensselaer in 1780. He went to England after 
the war, but soon returned to Canada, where he remained in the capacity of Super 
intendent of Indian Affairs until his death in 1830. 


marcli encamped before Catharine's Town, near the liead of Seneca Lake, 
on the morning of September 2d, and destroyed the viUage, the sur- 
rounding crops of corn, and the orchards. The flying campaign, charged 
witli the forces of destruction, had now fairly begun. " The Indians 
shall see," said Sullivan, " that there is malice enough in our hearts to 
destroy everything that contributes to their support." His men, burn- 
ing with indignation, eagerly sought to avenge the cruelties of the bar- 
barians and ToriQS who had made the region of the Mohawk a " dark 
and bloody ground." The Indians fled before them like frightened 
deer to cover, and the wail of desolation was heard throughout their 
pleasant land, from the Susquehanna to the Genesee. 

On September 14th General Sullivan and his army encamped before 
Genesee, the capital of the Senecas, in the beautiful Genesee Valley — 
the paradise of the Six Nations. There everything indicated the pres- 
ence of civilization. There was not a wilderness feature in the scene. 
The rich intervales presented the appearance of cultivation for many 
generations, and the farms, gardens, and orchards bespoke a degree of 
comfort and refinement that would be creditable to any civilized com- 
munity. But a terrible doom hung over the smiling country. The 
Genesee " Castle" was destroyed and the capital was laid in ashes. 
" The town," wrote Sullivan, " contained one hundred and twenty-eight 
houses, mostly large and very elegant. It was beautifully situated, 
almost encircled with a clear flat extending a number of miles, over 
which extensive fields of corn were waving, together with every kind of 
vegetable that could be conceived." 

The work of destruction now spread over the whole valley and the 
surrounding country. Forty Indian villages were burned ; one hundred 
and sixty thousand bushels of corn in the fields and in granaries were 
destroyed ; a vast number of the finest fruit-trees, the product of years 
of tardy growth, were cut down ; liundreds of gardens were desolated ; 
the inhabitants were driven into the forests to starve, and were hunted 
like wild beasts ; their altars were overturned ; their graves were 
trampled upon by strangers, and a beautiful, well-watered country, 
teeming with a prosperous people and just rising to the level with the 
productive regions of civilization, was desolated and thrown back a cen- 
tury within the space of a fortnight. 

This chastisement awed the barbarians for the moment, but it did not 
crush them. In the reaction they had greater strength. It kindled the 
fires of deep liatred, which spread like a conflagration far among the 
tribes upon the borders of the great lakes and in the valley of the Ohio. 

After Sullivan's campaign very few military operations occurred at 


the North during the remainder of the year. Lafayette had been in 
France during the summer, and had induced the French Government to 
promise to send a more powerful fleet and several thousand troops to aid 
the Americans. Whispers of this intention reached the ears of the 
British Cabinet, when the evacuation of Rhode Island and tlie concentra- 
tion of British troops at iS'ew York were ordered. 

A land force under General Lincoln and troops sent ashore from the 
French fleet of D'Estaing made an attack upon Savannah, Ga., in Sep- 
tember, and carried on a siege until the second week in October, when 
it M'as abandoned in consequence of the sudden withdrawal of the French 
troops. Lincoln was compelled to cross tlie Savannah River into South 
Carolina and retreat to Charleston. Toward that city Sir Henry Clinton 
sailed from New York at the close of the year with five thousand troops, 
to open a vigorous campaign in the Carolinas. 

In September the intrepid John Paul Jones, in command of the 
frigate Bonhommne Richard^ fitted out in a French port, gained a deci- 
sive victory in one battle over two British frigates, the Serajns and the 
Countess of Scarborough. They fought in the waters of the North Sea, 
off the north-eastern coast of England. 

Sir John Johnson took advantage of the hot indignation of the 
Iroquois, kindled by Sullivan's chastisement, to make a raid into the 
Mohawk Yalley with five hundred Tories and Indians, in May, 1780. 
He penetrated the country from Crown Point to the Sacandaga River, 
and on Sunday night. May ITtli, he arrived at Johnstown. Between 
midnight and dawn his force, divided, began to devastate that region, 
burning every house excepting tliose wdiich belonged to Tories. In the 
coarse of this raid many persons were slain and homes desolated. Such 
wild terror was spread all over that region that Sir John was enabled to 
accomplisli the chief object of his visit — namely, the recovery of his 
family plate, wliich was buried near Johnson Hall when he fled to Canada 
in ITTO. lie recovered twenty of his negro slaves, one of whom was 
the man who buried the treasure. It filled two barrels, and when it was 
exhumed it w^as carried away in the knapsacks of forty soldiers. With this 
property, his slaves, some prisoners, and much booty, Sir John was allowed 
by the panic-stricken people to leave for Canada without molestation. 

On hearing of this invasion, Governor Clinton, then at Poughkeepsie, 
ordered a pursuit. He led a division in person to Ticonderoga, where 
he was joined by some militia from Yerraont. Eiglit hundred militia, 
under Colonel Yan Schaick, pursued the fugitives from Johnstown ; but 
Sir John had such a start that he escaped. He had w^isely avoided the 
lakes on his retreat, and passed through the interior of the country. 



In August the Canajoharie and Fort Plain * settlements were deso- 
lated by Brant and live hundred Indians and Tories. Fifty-three 
dwellings and many barns were burned ; sixteen inhabitants were killed ; 
between fifty and sixty persons, chiefly women and children, were made 
captive ; implements of husbandry were destroyed, and over three 
hundred cattle and horses were driven away. 

In the autumn of 1780 an extensive expedition against the settlements 
in Tryon County was planned. The Indians were thirsting for revenge 
for the wrongs and misery inflicted upon them by Sullivan. The leaders 

in the expedition were Sir John Johnson, 
Joseph Brant, and a famous half-breed 
Seneca chief named Corn Planter. The 
Indians rendezvoused at Tioga Point, 
and at Unadilla they formed a junction 
with Sir John and his forces — regulars, 
Tories, and Indians — who came from 
Niagara and Canada by way of Oswego, 
bringing with them some light artillery. 
Their plan was to desolate the Schoharie 
Valley to the Mohawk, and then devastate 
that beautiful and bountiful region down 
to Schenectady. 

The invaders reached the Schoharie 
Valley at the middle of October. The 
inhabitants were taken by surprise. Their 
bams were filled with the products of a bountiful harvest, and stacks of 
hay and grain were abundant. The invaders besieged the forts, but 
failed to capture them. Believing them to be stronger than he had 
supposed, and fearing re-enforcements were coming. Sir John ordered 
his forces to sweep the A'alley with the besom of destruction to the 
Mohawk. Everywhere they applied the torch. Every house, barn, and 
stack belonging to a Whig was laid in ashes. Fully one hundred thousand 
bushels of grain were destroyed during that one day's march. So soon 
as the invaders had departed the exasperated Whigs burned the spared 


* After the desolation of the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys in 1778, Fort Plain was 
erected near the; mouth of the Osquaga Creek, and Ixjcame an important fortress. It 
stood upon a hill at the (present) village of Fort Plain. It was an irregular quadrangle in 
form, with earth and log bastions. It finally had a block-house (built in 1780) three 
stories in height pierced for musketry, the lower story for cannon. It was built of hewn 
logs. Each story projected about five feet beyond the one below it. The powder maga- 
zine was under it. 



houses and other property of the Tories. The Schoharie Yalley was 
made a smoking ruin. Several persons were slain during the raid. Sir 
John remained two days at Fort Hunter, at the mouth of the Schoharie 
Creek, and destroyed everything belonging to the Whigs in the neighbor- 
hood ; and on October 18th he began a 
destructive march up the Mohawk Yalley. 
He burned Caughnawaga and every dwell- 
ing on both sides of the river as far as 
Fort Plain. On the morning of the 19th 
he sent a detachment to attack a small 
stockade called Fort Paris, in Stone Ara- 
bia, about three miles north of the river. 

When Governor Clinton (then at 
Albany) heard of the invasion of the 
Schoharie Yalley he hastened with a 
strong body of militia, accompanied by 
General Kobert van Pensselaer, to the 
aid of the people of the smitten region. 
They arrived at Caughnawaga while it was 
in flames. There Clinton gave the chief 
command of the troops to Van Rensselaer. 
The latter, apprised of the intended at- 
tack upon Fort Paris, ordered its com- 
mander, Colonel Brown (distinguished 
in former campaigns), to march out and 

meet the invaders. He did so about a mile from (present) Palatine 
Bridge, was overpowered by superior mimbers, and with forty of his 
soldiers was slain. The remainder of his troops fled to Fort Plain.* 


* Colonel John Brown was a citizen of Massachusetts, a graduate of Yale College, and 
a lawyer by profession. He accompanied the expedition to Canada in 1776, and was 
specially distinguished in the capture of Fort Charably. He hung on the rear of 
Burgoyne's army in 1777, destroying his stores, and so efficiently assisting in the work of 
his capture. No mention was made of these services in official reports, as Arnold, who 
had at that time the ear of Gates, prejudiced that officer against him. Colonel Brown 
and his slain companions wei'e buried in the grounds adjoining the church in Stone 
Arabia, and fifty-six years afterward (1836), on the anniversary of the battle, a small 
monument erected on the spot by Mr. Henry Brown, a son of Colonel Brown, of Berk- 
shire, Mass., was dedicated. There was a large concourse of citizens assembled in the 
church on the occasion, when an address was pronounced by Mr. Gerrit L. Roof, then a 
young lawyer of Canajoharie, and afterward a clergyman. The above engraving is from 
a drawing made for the late Dr. Franklin B. Hough, who wrote an interesting and valu- 
able narrative of " The Northern Invasion," of which only eighty copies were printed by 
the " Bradford Club," of New York. 


Sir John desolated Stone Arabia. He halted to rest at a place called 
" Klock's Field." General Van Rensselaer was in pursuit of him with 
fifteen hundred men, including a body of Oneidas, led by Chief Louis, 
whom Congress had commissioned a colonel. Van Rensselaer's move- 
ments were so tardy that the invaders were rested before he was ready 
to attack them. Toward evening a general battle began, when a furious 
charge made by the patriots caused the invaders to give way and fly. It 
was now twilight, and Van Rensselaer would not allow his impatient 
troops to pursue until the next morning, when the fugitives were 
followed by the whole body of the victors as far as the German Flats, 
where they halted. 

Yan Rensselaer ordered the Oneidas and Captain McKean, with some 
volunteers, to press on in advance, promising to follow immediately in 
their support. They had nearly overtaken the fugitives when the pur- 
suers learned that Van Rensselaer had abandoned the pursuit. They 
retraced their steps as an act of safety, and Sir John and his invading 
party, who had inflicted such unutterable miseries upon the inhabitants 
of Tryon County, were allowed to escape to Canada by way of Oswego. 

Meanwhile Major Carleton of the British army, with one thousand 
regulars, Tories, and Indians, went up Lake Champlain, captured and 
burned Fort Anne, between tlie head of the lake and the Hudson, and 
sent forward marauding and incendiary parties toward Fort Edward. 
At the same time Carleton himself pushed on to the head of Lake 
George, and captured and destroyed Fort George there. A part of the 
expedition had landed at Crown Point and made its way through the 
forest to attack Schenectady, but proceeded no farther than the settle- 
ment at Ballston, which they desolated. At about the same time 
another expedition sent out from Canada fell upon the upper settlements 
of the Connecticut Valley. These expeditions avoided doing injury to 
the inhabitants on the ^ew Hampshire Grants (Vermont), because the 
leaders of those people were then coquetting with the British authorities 
in Canada. For what purpose will appear hereafter. 

"When Sir Henry Clinton sailed for the South at the close of 1779 he 
left the German General Knyphausen in comnumd at New York. The 
fleet of Admiral Arbuthnot, carrying two thousand marines, bore Clinton's 
troops. Tliey went first to the coast of Georgia, but soon proceeded to 
Charleston Harbor and prepared to besiege that city, where General 
Lincoln was in command of a considerable body of troops. Tlie city, 
the army, citizens, four hundred cannons, and a large quantity of stores 
were surrendered on May 12th. The Baron de Kalb had been sent with 
troops to assist Lincoln, but did not arrive in time. 


The fall of Charleston paralyzed the people of South Carolina. Three 
British detachments proceeded to take possession of the State. Lord 
Cornwallis M'as appointed to the chief command in that region. Clinton 
proclaimed a general truce, and pardon and protection for all who should 
accept it. The silence of fear overspread the country for a while. Mis- 
takincr this lull in the storm of resistance for absolute submission and 
permanent tranquillity, Clinton, with a large part of his army, sailed in 
the fleet of Arbuthnot for jS^ew York early in June. 

Cornwallis unwisely began a reign of terror to overawe the panic- 
stricken patriots. His course aroused their fiercest indignation, and so 
soon as an army, first under De Kalb and then commanded by Gates, 
approached the borders of their State they flew to arms. Energetic 
partisan leaders like Marion, Sumter, Pickens, and others now appeared, 
and South Carolina and Upper Georgia became a theatre of active war- 
fare, until Gates was beaten and his army was dispersed in a battle with 
Cornwallis, near Camden. This disaster seemed again to paralyze the 
people, and the State lay prone for a while at the feet of the invader. 

Cornwallis, now confident of his power, proceeded to invade North 
Carolina. It was begun, but was soon checked by the defeat of a body 
of Tory militia, led by Major Patrick Ferguson, in a battle on King's 
Mountain (October Tth), by the mountaineers of the Carolinas. At the 
same time Marion and Snmter were keeping British regulars and Tories 
exceedingly lively in an attitude of defence, until they became thoroughly 
alarmed. The British called Marion the " Swamp Fox" and Sumter the 
'' South Carolina Game Cock." 

While these operations were going on in the South and in the State of 
New York the American people were inspirited by the presence on their 
shores of a large land and naval force sent by France to aid them. They 
arrived at Newport, E. 1., on July 10th, 1780. The fleet was com- 
manded by Admiral Ternay. It bore six thousand troops, commanded 
by Lieutenant-General Count de Rochambeau. This event made Sir 
Henry Clinton more circumspect and cautious. He had been trying to 
entice Washington, after he left his winter quarters at Morristown, 
N. J., to fight ; now he changed his course of action, and endeavored to 
gain, by coniplotting with a traitor, what he had failed to do by arms. 




Benedict Arnold was in command of tlie important post of West 
Point, in the Hudson Higldands, late in the summer of 1780. He was 

a brave soldier, and had fought 
nobly for the independence of his 
country. But he was never a true 
patriot, or he would never have 
become a traitor. He lacked vir- 
tue, and became the slave and the 
victim of passions unrestrained by 

Arnold was jnilitary governor at 
Philadelphia in the sunnner of 1778. 
lie there married a beautiful maiden 
(Miss Shippen), only cigliteen years 
of age. He was forty- eight. He 
lived in splendor at an expense far 
beyond his means, became involved 
in debt, and to meet the demands 
of his. creditors he engaged in practices which caused him to be charged 
with dishonesty and malfeasance in office. He was tried by a court- 


* Benedict Arnold, a brave soldier who became a conspicuous traitor, was born At 
Norwich, Conn., January 3d, 1741 ; died in London, June 14th, 1804. Apprenticed to 
an apothecary, he ran away ; enlisted as a soldier ; deserted ; engaged a few years in the 
business of a bookseller and druggist in New Haven, and a trader with the West Indies. 
After the affair at Lexington he raised a company of volunteers, and accompanied Allen 
in the capture of Ticouderoga. He jxirformed gallant service in naval warfare on Lake 
Champlain the following year. Meanwhile he had made a perilous march through the 
wilderness from the Kennebec River to Quebec ; engaged in the siege of that city ; was 
badly wounded ; was chiefly instrumental in winning the battles that resulted in the 
surrender of Burgoync, and was again wounded in these conflicts. While in command 
as military governor at T»hiladelphia he opened a treasonable correspondence with the 
British. His altompt to betray West Point failed, and he escaped to the British lines. 
He served in the British army in jircdatory warfare upon his countrymen ; went to 
England, where he was despised by all honorable men ; became for a while a resident of 
St. Jolins, New Brunswick, where he was hung in effigy. He soon returned to England, 
where he lived in obscurity. One of his sons became a lieutenant-general in the British 


martial, and sentenced to be reprimanded by tbe commander-in-chief of 
the armies. It M-as done by Washington in the most delicate manner. 

Vengeful feelings took possession of the heart and mind of Arnold, 
which led him to make an attempt to betray his country. He made 
treasonable overtures secretly to Sir Henry Clinton, and held treasonable 
correspondence for several months, under assumed names, with Major 
Andre, Clinton's adjutant-general. Before they met face to face Arnold 
promised to surrender the post of West Point and its dependencies (of 
which, on his earnest solicitation, he had been made commander in 
August) into the hands of the enemy. The possession of West Point 
by the British would secure the control of the Hudson ; cut off !N^ew 
England from the rest of the States ; facilitate intercourse with Canada, 
and lead to the speedy accomplishment of all that the expeditions of 
Burgoyne and St. Leger were expected to effect. Arnold agreed to 
strike this deadly blow at the liberties of his patriotic countrymen for the 
consideration of a brigadier's commission in the royal army and $50,000 
in gold. 

The time chosen for the consummation of this unholy bargain was late 
in September, 1780, when Washington would be in Hartford, Conn., 
conferring with the French officers. Arrangements were made for a 
personal interview between Arnold and Andre to conclude a final settle- 
ment of the details. The place selected by Arnold for the interview 
was a lonely spot not far below Haverstraw, on the west side of the 
Hudson, and the time midnight, September 20th. 

Andre ascended the river on the sloop-of-war Vultwe, and was taken 
ashore in a boat * sent by Arnold, in charge of his friend, Joshua Hett 
Smith, who lived between Haverstraw and Stony Point. The com- 
plotters met in the dark. Andre's uniform was concealed by a surtout. 
He had been instructed to neither carry nor fetch any papers. The con- 
ference was j)rotracted. Day dawned and it was not ended. Arnold 
persuaded Andre to accompany him to Smith's house to complete the 
arrangements, without informing him that the dwelling was within the 
American lines. Meanwhile the Vulture had been driven down the 
river by cannonading from Teller's Point, on the eastern shore. 

* On the morning at first fixed for his execution (October 1st, 1780) Major Andre made 
a pen-and-ink sketch representing his conveyance to the shore from the Vulture in a 
small boat. There are two jMjrsons in the boat besides the oarsman. This sketch, with 
" J. A., fecit, Oct. 1, 1780," w-ritten in a corner, was found on his table after his execu- 
tion, on October 2d ; also a pen-and-ink sketch of his own portrait sitting at a table. 
His servant delivered these sketches to Colonel Crosbie, of the Twenty-second Regiment, 
on his return to New York. 


At Smith's house the final arrangements were made. Chnton was to 
ascend the river with a powerful force, when Arnold, after making a 
show of resistance, should surrender the post, pleading as an excuse the 
weakness of the garrison. 

This wicked scheme perfected, Andre was anxious to return to tlie 
Vulture that night, but Smith refused to go so far down the river, and 
it was arranged for the adjutant-general to return to New York by land. 
Exchanging his uniform for a suit supplied by Smith, and accompanied 
bj that gentleman, he crossed the river at the King's Ferry at twilight, 
bearing tlie following passport : 

"Permit Mr. Jolin Anderson [an assumed name] to pass the guards 
to the White Plains, or below, if he chooses, he being on public 
business. B. Arnold, M. G. " 

In violation of his instructions, Andre had received from Arnold some 
papers explanatory of the condition of "West Point and its dependencies, 
and concealed them in liis stockings beneath liis feet. He and his 
attendants passed the night near the Croton River. The next morning 
he journeyed on alone on horseback, and soon reached the neutral 
ground in Westchester County. 

Near Tarrytovvn three young militiamen — John Paulding, Isaac van 
Wart, and David Williams — were playing cards on the edge of a wood 
when Andre approached. Paulding, dressed in a British trooper's coat, 
stepped into the road and liailed him. Tlie young man had been a 
prisoner a short time, and had been stripped of his better fanner's coat 
and given the old red one he had on. The traveller, misled by this coat, 
said : 

" Gentlemen, I hope you belong to onr party." 

" Which party ?" asked Paulding. 

" The lower party. " 

"We do." 

Thus completely thrown off his guard, Andr^ avowed himself to be a 
British officer, when they said : 

" We are Americans." 

Astonished and alarmed, Andre now exhibited Arnold's passport. 
The young men shook their heads. He had avowed himself a British 
officer. His speech confirmed the truth of that avowal. Their sus- 
picions that he might be a spy were aroused. They invited him to dis- 
mount, and then proceeded to search him. Pulling ofiE his boots, the 
tell-tale papers were discovered. 

" My God !" exclaimed Paulding, " he is a spy !" 

The major offered the young men large bribes if they would let hira 



pass on. They refused, and delivered liim to Colonel Jameson, then in 
command of a post at North Castle. Jameson sent the papers found in 
Andre's boot by express to Washington, who was returning with his 
suite from Hartford. Andre, still maintaining the role of an American, 
begged the colonel to inform his (Andre's) commander at West Point 
that John Anderson, though bearing his passport, was detained a pris- 
oner. This Jameson thoughtlessly did, and so Arnold was informed of 
his own peril in time to allow him to escape. 

Arnold's headquartere were at the country-house of Beverly Eobinson, 
opposite West Point. Mrs. Arnold had lately arrived there with her 


infant son. On the morning of September 25th Washington, with 
Generals Knox and Lafayette, arrived in the vicinity two days earlier 
than they were expected. Word was sent to Arnold that they would 
breakfast with him. Washington and the two generals turned aside to 
inspect some redoubts, while Colonel Hamilton and others rode on to tell 
Mrs. Arnold not to detain breakfast for the generals. It was the very day 
(September 25th) that had been fixed for Clinton to ascend the river and 
receive the surrender of West Point. Washington's early return frus- 
trated the treasonable designs. 

While Arnold and his guests were at breakfast a courier arrived with 
Jameson's letter, which revealed to Arnold the temble fact that Andre 


was a prisoner ; that all was known — that all was lost. "With marvellous 
self-possession the traitor excused himself to his guests, retired, ordered a 
horse, and then going to Mrs. Arnold's room, sent for her. In a few 
words he told her of his peril, 

" I must fly instantly," he said. " My life depends upon my reach- 
ing the British lines without detection." 

Pie then returned to the breakfast-room, and again excusing himself 
witli the plea that he must hasten to West Point to prepare for the 
reception of Washington, he leaped into the saddle on his horse at the 
door and dashed down a path to the river, where his six-oared barge was 
moored. Quitting his horse, he hurried into his boat, with his pistols in 
his hands, and ordered the oarsmen to pull to the middle of the stream 
and then to row with speed to Teller's (now Croton) Point, saying he 
nmst hasten and return to meet General "Washington. iSTear that point, 
sitting in the bow of his barge, Arnold raised a white handkerchief, and 
ordered his men to row to the Vulture, lying within sight. They did 
so, and the traitor, reaching her deck, was safe from pursuit. The 
barge was retained and the crew were sent on shore. 

Washington took a late breakfast at Arnold's quarters, and then 
crossed over to West Point, expecting to meet the general there. He 
had not been there for two days ! Still unsuspicious, the commander- 
in-chief did not return until about noon. He was met by Colonel 
Hamilton, who put into his liands evidences of Arnold's treason. Orders 
had already been issued to attemj)t to intercept the flight of the guilty 
fugitive. It was too late. 

Arnold had left his wife lying in a swoon. She had not been dis- 
covered until some time after her husband's departure. Recovering 
consciousness, she became frenzied, and for a* long time refused to be 
comforted. Washington went to her room, and succeeded in soothing 
lier. He assured her of the personal safety of her husband, of his own 
tender regard for her, and also of the personal safety of herself and 
child. He comprehended the gravity of the situation, but seemed undis- 
turbed. To General Knox he said sadly : " Arnold is a traitor ; who 
can we trust now ?" 

Andre was conveyed first to West Point, and thence to Tappan, on 
the west side of the Hudson, then the headquarters of the army, where 
a board of inquiry was organized (Septeniber 3()th), composed of fourteen 
general officers, to consider the prisoner's case. They unanimously 
reported that " Major Andre, adjutant-general of the British army, 
ought to be considered as a spy from the enemy, and that, agreeable to 
the law and usage of nations, it is their opinion he ought to suffer death." 


He was accordingly executed on October 2d, 1T80. Andr6 was not then 
twenty-nine years of age. 

Great efforts were made to save tlie life of Major Andre. It was 
known tliat he did not voluntarily become a spy, and almost universal 
sympathy was then, and has been ever since, evinced for him. Wash- 
ington would have saved him had the stern rules of war allowed. Sir 
Henry Clinton might have saved him had honor permitted him to 
exchange Arnold for Andre.* His king pensioned his family and 
knighted his brother ; a mural monument to his memory was placed in 
"Westminster Abbey, and in 1882 a granite memorial stone was erected 
b}'- a citizen of New York (Cyrus W. Field) on the spot where he was 
hanged as a spy, to commemorate that event. It was destroyed by a 
miscreant with dynamite on the evening of November 2d, 1885. It 
bore an inscription written by the late Dean Stanley, of London. 

The captors of Andre were each awarded a silver medal and an 
annuity of $200 for life. Arnold received his stipulated reward for 
his treasonable endeavors, and served as a British general in cruel 
marauding expeditions against his countrymen. None of the British 
officers would serve with him in the regular army. He was forever 
afterward shunned and despised by all honorable men on both sides of 
the ocean. 

A few weeks after the execution of Andre a stirring military event 
occurred on Long Island. Some refugee Tories from Rhode Island had 
taken possession of the St. George's Manor-house on Smith's Point and 
fortified it, and were cutting wood for the supply of the British at New 
York. Late in November Major Benjamin Tallmadge crossed Long 
Island Sound in whale-boats from Fairfield, Conn., with eighty dis- 
mounted dragoons, and at dawn (November 23d) appeared before the 
Manor-house, burst through the stockade, rushed across the parade, and 
assailed the garrison on three sides, shouting, '' Washington and glory !" 
The garrison surrendered without resistance. Having secured three 
hundred prisoners, they were returning to their boats when they made a 
detour, and at Coram destroyed three hundred tons of hay gathered there 
for the use of the British in New York. The expedition returned to 

* An attempt was made to abduct Arnold from Clinton's headquarters at No. 1 Broad- 
way, New York, and carry him to Washington's headquarters at Tappan. Sergeant 
Champe, of Lee's Legion, was allowed to play the rdle of a deserter. He was met by the 
traitor with much cordiality. Arrangements were made for a party to seize Arnold while 
walking in the garden at the British headquarters with Champe, at evening of the day 
preceding the execution of Andre. The quasi-deserter was foiled by being sent away 
with a party of British to Chesapeake Bay on that day. 


Connecticut witliout losing a man. Congress thanked the victors, and 
Washington warmly commended their A-alor.* 

Civil events in the region known as the New Hampshire Grants created 
much uneasiness not only in Xew York, but throughout the Confederacy 
in 1780. The controversy between New York and the Grants paused, 
as we liave observed, at the beginning of the war for independence ; but 
the spirit of liberty among the settlers east of Lake Champlain continued 
conspicuously all through the period of that war. They had assumed a 
provisional independent political organization, and in 1776 had petitioned 
the Continental Congress to admit them into the union as such. New 
York so vehemently opposed their pretensions that their petition was 

At a popular convention held at Westminster in January, 1777, the 
people of the Grants declared their domain an independent State, for- 
ever tliereafter to be " known and distinguished by the name of New 
Connecticnt, alias Vermont." This position they maintained until 
Vermont was admitted into the tTnion in 1791. 

The State of Vermont was much strengthened by the annexation of 
sixteen towns laying east of the Connecticut River, which were claimed 
as part of the domain of New Hampshire. The latter State protested ; 
New York denied the authority of Vermont as independent of lier juris- 
diction, whilst Congress, appealed to, could do nothing. 

In the southern portion of Vermont was the county of Cumberland, 
one of the fourteen political divisions of New York. Over tin's county 
New York exercised authority. Vermont claimed it as her own, and 
Massachusetts put in a claim for it and a portion of New York, truth- 
fully asserting that the boundary between the Bay State and New York 
had never been settled. The inhabitants themselves claimed to belong 
to New York, and in 1779 Governor Clinton gave commissions to persons 
in that county, whereupon Vermont ordered Colonel Ethan Allen to 
raise a militia force, march into the disputed district, and assert her 
authority there. Governor Clinton directed the people to remain firm 

* A similar gallant feat by soldiers from Connecticut had been performed on Long 
Island in the spring of 1777. Colonel R. J. Meigs was sent from Guilford with one 
hundred and seventy men in whale-boats, accompanied by two armed schooners, to 
destroy British stores at Sag Harbor, on the eastern end of Long Islantl. At night they 
crossed over a portion of Long Island to Peconic Bay, carrying their boats with them, 
and at two o'clock in the morning attacked tbe British guards. An armed schooner 
opened fire upon tliem. The fire was returned with spirit, and the Americans killed or 
captured the whole British force, destroyed twelve brigs and sloops, one hundred tons of 
hay, a large quantity of rum and other stores and merchandise, and returned to Guilford 
with ninety prisoners. Congress thanked Meigs, and gave him an elegant sword. 


in their allegiance to Kew York, and promised them military assistance 
if required. Congress, having been appealed to, advised the four claim- 
ants to authorize that body to determine the respective boundaries ; but 
really independent Yermont paid no attention to the recommendation, 
and nothing was then done. 

At this juncture a question of greater magnitude than these local dis- 
putes presented itself. The British authorities in Canada liad eagerly 
Avatched the progress of the quarrel with Yermont, and now entertained 
hopes that the latter would he so far alienated from the " rebel " cause, 
by the opposition of New York and the injustice of Congress, as to be 
induced to return to its allegiance to the British crown. Accordingly in 
the spring of 1780 Colonel Beverly Robinson wrote to Ethan Allen from 
New York, making overtures to that effect. The letter was delivered to 
Allen in the street at Arlington by a spy disguised as a New England 

Allen laid the letter of Robinson before Governor Chittenden and 
others, who advised silence. In February, 1781, Robinson wrote 
another letter to Allen, enclosing a copy of the former. Allen made no 
reply, but early in March he sent Robinson's letter to Congress, with 
one from himself, which closed with the words : 

" I am as resolutely determined to defend the independence of 
Yermont as Congress is that of the United States ; and, rather than fail, 
I will retire with the hardy Green Mountain Boys into the desolate 
caverns of the mountains and wage war with human nature at large." 

Meanwhile information of the first letter written by Robinson, and 
the sending of a delegation from Congress to Yermont, had alarmed the 
authorities of New York. Governor Clinton, suspecting a combination 
against his State, wrote to James Duane (October 29th, 1780) that in 
the event of a certain contingency the New York delegates would be 
withdrawn from Congress, " and the resources of the State, which have 
hitherto been so lavishly afforded the Continent, be withheld for 
the defence of New York." Clinton called the attention of Washing- 
ton to the apparent danger, when the latter issued orders to General 
Schuyler to arrest Allen. Schuyler shared in Clinton's apprehensions, 
and wrote from Albany to the governor at Poughkeepaie (October 31st), 
saying : 

'' The conduct of some people to the eastward is alarmingly mys- 
terious. A flag, under pretence of settling a contest with Yermont, lias 
been on the Grants. Allen has disbanded his militia, and the enemy, in 
number upward of six liundred, are rapidly advancing toward us. The 
night before last they were at Putnam's Point. Entreat General Wash- 



ington for more Continental troops, and let me l»eg of your Excellency 
to hasten up here." 

This was in alhision to a conference between Allen and Colonel 
Dundas at Isle aux Noix concerning an exchange of prisoners. At that 
conference Dundas, under the direction of Governor llaldiniand, made 
verbal proposals to Allen similar to those made by Robinson.* Allen now 

saw the opportunity for Yermont. 
lie received the overtures with 
apparent favor. Ilaldimand and 
Dundas were delighted with their 
apparent skill in diplomacy, and 
readily agreed to a proposition, 
from Allen not to allow hostili- 
ties on the Vermont frontier 
until after the meeting of the 
Legislature. Hence the dismis- 
sal of Allen's militia. 

The coquetry of the brothers 
Allen (Ethan and Ira) and six or 
eight other leaders in Vermont 
with the British authorities in 
Canada continued until the peace 
in 1Y83, when dissimulation was 
no longer necessary. The con- 
clusion of tlic whole matter may be stated in a few words. The shrewd 
diplomatists of Vermont had been working for a twofold object — 
namely, to keep the British troops from their territory and to induce 
Congress to admit the independence of their domain as a State of the 
Union. They outwitted the Britons, hoodwinked Congress, and finally 
gained their point.f 

* Beverly Robinson, a stanch royalist, was born in Virginia in 1734 ; died an exile at 
Thornbury, England, in 1792. lie was a major under Wolfe at Quebec. He married a 
daughter of Frederick Philipse. Up to the Declaration of Independence he opposed the 
measures of the British Government ; then he espoused the cause of the crown. He took 
an active though generally a secret part in the plot of Arnold and Andre. He accom- 
panied the latter on his voyage up the Hudson in the Vulture to have an interview with 
Arnold, who occupied Robinson's house as headquarters at that time. He fled to England, 
and his property was confiscated. The British Government allowed him $80,000 as an 
indemnity for his losses. His wife died iu England in 1822, at the age of ninety-four 

f Ethan and Ira Allen were remarkable men. They were both born in Connecticut, 
Ethan in 1737, and Ira in 1751. The latter was Ethan's younger brother. Ethan was 
one of the proprietors of the iron works at Salisbury, Conn., in 1762. In 1766 he went 



Yet the difficnlties between New York and Yermont were not settled. 
Yiolent measures had ceased forever. Both parties, however, were 
unwilling to yield. Finally the Legislatures of the two States appointed 
commissioners late in 1789 to settle all matters of controversy. The 
only serious difficulty that remained related to compensation for the 
lands claimed by citizens of N^ew York which had been granted to them 
by Yermont. It was finally agreed that the State of Yermont should 
pay to the State of N^ew York $30,000 in settlement of their claims. 
All other matters in dispute were adjusted, and so, amicably, was ended a 
bitter controversy which had been carried on for more than twenty-six 
years, at times threatening immediate civil war. In the spring of 1791 
Yermont was admitted into the Union as an independent but not a 
sovereign State. 

The Americans were not subdned at the close of 1780, but their cause 
was in great peril because of the extreme weakness of material props and 
the absence of an efficient civil government. The Continental paper 
money, which had hitherto greatly assisted in sustaining the cause, had 
become almost worthless. " A wagon-load of money," said a contem- 
porary, " M'ould not buy a wagon-load of provisions." The several 
States were urged to supply quotas of funds for the common use. Their 
responses were slow and feeble, for there was no central power compe- 
tent to levy taxes or demand forced loans. The idea of State sovereignty 
was all-controlling. Finally a plan of government which had been dis- 
cussed in Congress since 1775 was adopted late in 1777, and submitted to 
the State Legislatures for ratification. It was yet unratified, and the 
Continental Congress had but a shadow of power independent of the 
States, whose supremacy was made potential by the new constitution of 
government, which was entitled " Articles of Confederation." 

to the New Hampshire Grants, then almost a wilderness, and, as we have observed, was 
a bold leader in the controversy with the settlers and the authorities of New York. He 
wrote several pamphlets during that controversy. He was outlawed by the authorities 
of New York ; took a conspicuous place in the opening scenes of the Revolution ; was 
carried a prisoner to England ; was exchanged in 1778, and invested with the chief com- 
mand of the Vermont militia. He was a leading coquette with the Canadian authorities ; 
served as a member of the Legislature of Vermont and a delegate in Congress after the 
war, and died at Burlington, Vt., and was buried there in February, 1789. 

Ira Allen was also an active patriot during the old war for independence in military 
and civil affairs. He was Secretary of State and member of the Council of Vermont. 
As senior major-general of Vermont, in 1795 he was sent to Europe to purchase arms for 
his commonwealth. On his way homeward, with muskets and cannons, he was captured 
and taken to England as a French emissary intending to supply the Irish with arms. He 
was .soon released. He died in Philadelphia in 1814. Allen wrote a National and 
Political nistory of Vermont. 



Thoughtful men were alarmed and perplexed. The young Alexander 
Hamilton (then in Wasliington's military family), in a letter to James 
Duane, one of the four New York members of Congress, denounced 
this scheme of government as " neither fit for war nor peace. The 
uncontrollable sovereignty in each State," he wrote, " will defeat the 
powers of Congress and make our union feeble and precarious." In 
his letter to Duane he proposed a convention of all the States, for the 
purpose of constructing a national government under the superintendence 
of one supreme head, and he proposed a plan, in the form of suggestions, 

which was substantially adopted 
several years afterward. 

There were no military opera- 
tions of great importance in the 
State of New York in 1781 be- 
fore the arrival of the French 
troops, under Rochambeau,* from 
Rhode Island, in the vicinity of 
the Hudson River, early in July. 
Sir Henry Clinton had sent the 
traitor Arnold, at the liead of 
about sixteen hundred British 
and Tory marauders, into Virgi- 
nia. Anxious to serve his royal 
master, Arnold was exceedingly 
active. He ascended the James 
River to Richmond, burned it, with a very large quantity of public 
and private property, and then made a plundering raid down the river. 
Alarmed by information that the French fleet from Rhode Island had 
sailed for Chesapeake Bay, he fled up the Elizabeth River and took 
post at Portsmouth, opposite Norfolk. Great efforts were made to 
seize him. Lafayette was sent t(» Virginia with troops to assist the 
Baron von Steuben, f then in command there. The Virginia militia turned 
out in large numbers to oppose the traitor. 

* Count de Rochambeau was born at Vendome, France, in 1725 ; died in May, 1807. 
He entered the army in his youth, and rose rapidly to distinction. With the commission 
of lieutenant-general he came to America with troops to assist the patriots in their 
struggle with British power. After the capture of Cornwallis at Yorktown, in 1781, he 
remained .some time in America, returning to France late in 1782. In 1791 he was made 
a marshal of France and placed in command of the Army of the North. He narrowly 
escaped the guillotine. Bonaparte pensioned him in 1804, and gave him the decoratiou 
of the Cress of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor. 

f Frederick W. A. (Baron) von Steuben was a native of Prussia, born at Magdeburg, 




Governor Jefferson offered a reward of $25,000 for liis capture, and a 
portion of the French fleet shut him up in the Elizabeth River. The 
fleet was soon compelled to retreat, after a conflict with Admiral 

General Phillips soon afterward joined Arnold with two thousand men, 
and took the chief command. Finally Lord Cornwallis entered Yirginia 
from North Carolina, joined the forces of Phillips and Arnold, and 
attempted the subjugation of that State. He was driven back to the 
coast early in the sum 

mer by the forces of __ _^ , 

Steuben and Lafayette, 
and took post at and 
fortified Yorktown, on 
the York River. Clin- 
ton had ordered him to 
be near the sea, in order 
to re-enforce the garri- 
son at ]^ew York, if 
necessary. It was then 
seriously menaced by the 
combined American and 
French forces. 

The Count de Grasse, 
a distinguished admiral, was then in command of a French fleet in the 
West Indies, and Washington was assured that he was ready to co-op- 
erate M'ith the allied armies in any undertaking that promised success. 
Meanwhile Rochambeau had led the French troops from New England 
to the Hudson River, and the junction of the Americans .and their allies 
took place near Dobb's Ferry on July 6th. Washington was then con- 
teni plating an attack upon the British in the city of New York, but 
before De Grasse was ready to co-operate with him Sir Henry received 

in 1730. He held a distinguished place in the Prussian army, and rose to the office of 
grand marshal in 1764. He joined the Continental army in America in 1777, and was 
appointed inspector-general, doing excellent service until the close of the war. For his 
services the State of New York gave him sixteen thousand acres of wild land in Oneida 
County, where he built a log-house for himself. The National Government gave him an 
annuity of $2500. He withdrew from society, and dwelt on his domain until his death, 
in November, 1794. By his will he parcelled his estates among his aides (Colonels North, 
Popham, and Walker) and twenty or thirty tenants. The State of New Jersey also gave 
him a small farm. He was kind, generous, and witty, and possessed polished manners. 
Over his grave in the town of Steuben, about seven miles north-west of Trenton Falls, a 
plain monument was erected, by private subscription, in 1826 — simply a recumbent slab 
with his name upon it. 




re-enforcements (August lltli) of three thousand troops from England. 
At about the same time Washington was informed that De Grasse could 
not leave the "West Indies just then. 

Lafayette had written to Washington that Cornwallis liad made a great 
mistake in intreneliing hiu)self at Yorktown, and urged the commander- 
in-chief to march into Virginia. " Should a French fleet enter Hampton 
Roads," he wrote, " tlie British army would be compelled to surrender." 
For six weeks the allied armies lay in Westchester County, waiting for 
the arrival of De Grasse to attack New York. When, a few days after 
the arrival of Clinton's re-enforcements, Washington was informed that 
De Grasse was about to sail for the Chesapeake, he resolved to march to 

Virginia and assist Steuben and 
Lafayette in opposing Cornwal- 
lis. He wrote misleading letters 
to General Greene in New Jer- 
sey, and sent them so as to be 
intercepted by Sir Henry. Gen- 
eral Schuyler also wrote a letter 
to Washington for the same pur- 
pose. These letters so adroitly 
concealed Washington's real in- 
tentions that it was ten days after 
the allies had crossed the Hudson 
and were marching for the Dela- 
ware and beyond before Clinton 
was convinced the movement was* 
not a feint to cover a sudden 
descent upon New Yoi k. It was 
then too late to intercept or suc- 
cessfully to pursue the allies, and he sent Arnold with a band of maraud- 
61*8 to desolate the New England coast, hoping to recall the Americans. 

Washington was in chief command of the allied armies, and bearing 
the commission of lieutenant-general from the King of France. He 
arrived before Yorktown with twelve thousand troops on September 
28th, and soon began a siege. De Grasse had already arrived, and was 
guarding the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. The siege was carried on 
vigorously, and on October 19th Cornwallis was compelled to surrender 
to Washington and De Grasse, himself and about seven thousand troops, 
the post with all its ordnance and supplies, his shipping and seamen. A 
vast concourse of people, equal in number, it was said, to the military, 
was assembled from the surrounding country to participate in the event 



SO joyful to tlie Americans. Ciinton appeared at the entrance of Chesa- 
peake Bay a few days afterward with seven thousand troops to re- 
enforce Cornwallis. It was too late, and he sailed back to New York 
amazed and disheartened. 

The surrender of Cornwallis filled the hearts of patriotic Americans 
witii joy, for it was a prophecy of peace and independence. That 
prophecy was soon fulfilled. The desire for peace, Avhich had long 
burned in the hearts of the British people, now found such potential 
expression that it was heeded by the British Ministry. 

The news from Yorktown fell like a lighted bombshell in the midst of 
the war party in Parliament, and public opinion found immediate and 
vehement expression in both Houses. Lord North, the premier, who 
had misled the nation for twelve years, retired from office (March 20th, 
1782), the advocates for peace came into power, and early in May 
ensuing Sir Guy Carleton, who had succeeded Clinton as commander-in- 
chief of the British forces in America, arrived at New York with propo- 
sitions for a reconciliation. 

Measures were immediately taken by Congress and the British Gov- 
ernment to arrange a treaty of peace. Commissioners were appointed 
by the high contracting powers, in which France, an ally of the Ameri- 
cans, was included, and on November 30th a preliminary treaty was 
signed at Paris. A definitive treaty was signed at the same place on 
September 3d, 1783, by which the independence of the United States 
was acknowledged by the King of Great Britain. 

War had raged in the South during 1781. General Nathaniel Greene 
had succeeded General Gates in comnmnd of the Southern army, and 
with the main body took post at Cheraw, east of the Pedee River. 
Among his most active lieutenants was General Daniel Morgan, who 
with a thousand men occupied the region near the confluence of the 
Pacolet and Broad rivers. 

Cornwallis was about to march into North Carolina, when he found 
himself between two fires. He sent the energetic Colonel Tarleton to 
capture or disperse Morgan's men. The belligerents met in battle at 
the Cowpens, in Western South Carolina (January 17th, 1781), where 
Tarleton was defeated with much loss. Congress rewarded Morgan with 
a gold medal, and his two lieutenants, Colonels Howard and Washington, 
with a silver medal each. 

Morgan started for Virginia with his five hundred prisoners and much 
spoil. Cornwallis attempted to intercept or overtake him, but failed. 
Morgan crossed the Catawba before him, and on the banks of tlie Yadkin 
he was joined by Greene and his escort. 


Now began the famous retreat of the American army, under General 
Greene, from the Catawba through North Carolina into Virginia, Corn- 
wallis had been detained by the sudden swelling of the Catawba by a 
heavy rain. lie reached the Yadkin (February 8d) just as the Ameri- 
cans were safely landed on the opposite shore. Swelling floods again 
arrested him. Tlie patriots pressed onward, and Cornwallis was soon 
again in full pursuit. At Guilford Court-House Greene was joined by 
his main army from Cheraw, but lie was not strong enough to fight. 
They all continued the flight, and after many escapes the Americans 
reached the Dan (February 13tli), and crossed the rising waters into the 
friendly bosom of Halifax, in Virginia. Cornwallis, again foiled by a 
flood, abandoned the chase, and moved sullenly southward through 
North Carolina. 

Greene soon recrossed the Dan, to prevent Cornwallis organizing the 
Tories in North Carolina. Recruits had swelled his ranks, and at the 
beginning of March he found himself in command of about Ave thousand 
troops. He sought an engagement with Cornwallis, and on March IStli 
they fought a very severe battle near Guilford Court-House. Although 
the British remained masters of the field, the victory was almost as 
destructive for Cornwallis as a defeat. "Another such a victory," 
said Charles J. Fox, in the House of Commons, " will ruin the British 
army." The battalions of Cornwallis were so shattered that he 
could not maintain the advantage he had gained. Thoroughly dis- 
pirited, he abandoned Western North Carolina, and moved with his 
whole army to Wilmington, leaving Lord Rawdon in command of a 
British force at Camden. Cornwallis soon afterward marched into 

Greene with all his force pursued Cornwallis some distance, and then 
marched for Camden. He encamped upon Hobkirk's Hill, within a 
mile of liawdon's encampment, where he was surprised by the British 
forces on the morning of April 25th, After a sharp battle of several 
hours Greene was defeated, but on his retreat he carried away all his 
artillery and baggage and fifty British prisoners. 

Greene's army began to increase, when Rawdon, alarmed for the 
safety of his posts in the lower country, abandoned Camden and took 
position at Nelson's Ferry, on the Santee. Within the space of a week 
the Americans seized four important posts, and Greene was making rapid 
marches toward Fort Ninety-Six, on the site of the (present) village of 
Cambridge, in Abbeville District. In all these operations Greene was 
greatly aided by Colonel Henry Lee (" Light Horse Harry") and his 
famous Legion. At the beginning of June the British possessed only 


three posts in South Carohna — namely, Charleston, ]S"elson's Ferry, and 

General Greene began tlie siege of Ninety-Six on May 22d, but on 
the approach of Eavvdon with a strong force he was compelled to 
abandon it on June 19th, Meanwhile Lee, Pickens, and others had 
gained victories on the Savannah Eiver. They captured Fort Galphin, 
below Augusta, on May 21st, and after a siege of eleven days and a final 
assault Augusta was surrendered to Lee and Pickens. Then the victors 
hastened to join Greene before Ninety-Six, and with him they retreated 
beyond the Saluda River. The Americans finally crossed the Congaree, 
and the main body encamped during the hot and sickly season on the 
High Hills of Santee, in Santee District. 

Pavvdon left his army at Orangeburg with Colonel Stewart and 
returned to England. Re-enforced by North Carolina troops, Greene 
crossed the Wateree at the close of August, and marched upon Orange- 
burg, when Stewart retreated to Eutaw Springs, near the Santee. Greene 
pursued and overtook him there, and on the morning of September 8th 
they fought a sanguinary battle. The ximericans were victorious at 
first, but lost the prize for which they contended, by imprudence. Unex- 
pectedly the British renewed the conflict, and after a severe struggle for 
several hours the Americans were defeated. Stewart, however, thought 
it prudent to retreat toward Charleston during the night, and on the 9th 
Greene took possession of the battle-field. Congress rewarded him with 
a gold medal and other honors. 

Annoyed by the active partisan corps in South Carolina, the British 
soon afterward evacuated their interior posts and retired to Charleston. 
At the close of 1781 they w^ere confined to the cities of Charleston and 




The Americans did not relax their vigilance while negotiations for 
peace were in progress. The army was kept intact, for British troops 
seemed still disposed to be aggressive. The last blood shed in the Kevo- 
hition was spilled in a skirmish with a British foraging party not far from 
Charleston in August, 1782. Already the British troops had evacuated 
Savannah (July 11th), but they held Charleston until December 14th, 


when they left it forever, and the city of New York alone was then in 
possession of the Britons. They remained there almost a year longer. 

Meanwhile the State of l^ew York became the theatre of most 
important events in the career of the Continental army, encamped between 
Newburgh and New Windsor, above the Hudson Highlands. The head- 
quarters of the army was at Newburgh.* In the autumn of 1Y82 it was 

* The quaint old stone lionse at Newburj^h used by Wasliington as headquarters is yet 
standinij;, and is preserved in its original form outside and in. It is the property of the 


temporarily transferred to Verplanck's Point, below the Highlands, to 
meet the French troops on their return from Virginia, preparatory to 
their marching into New England to embark for France. At that time 
the Continental army numbered about ten thousand men. 

The joy inspired by the prospects of peace was mingled by gloomy 
forebodings concerning the future. The army, which through the most 
terrible sufferings had been faithful and become a conqueror, was soon 
to be disbanded, and thousands of soldiers, many of them made invalids 
by their hard service in the field, would be compelled to seek a liveli- 
liood in the midst of the desolation which war had produced. 

For a long time the public treasury had been empty, and neither 
officers nor private soldiers had received any pay for several months. 
Murmurings of discontent were heard throughout the army. The weak- 
ness of the Confederation was ascribed to its republican form, and many 
men sighed for a stronger government. A change, to be wrought by 
the army, was actually proposed by Colonel Nicola, a meritorious foreign 
officer of the Pennsylvania line. In a well written letter addressed 
(May, 1782) to the commander-in-chiaf at his headquarters at Newbui*gh, 
he not only urged the necessity of a monarchy, but endeavored to 
persuade Washington to become King, by the voice of the army, in 
imitation of the actions of the Poman legions. The sharp rebuke admin- 
istered by the commander-in-chief in his reply checked all further move- 
ments in that direction. 

Toward the close of the winter of 1783 the discontent in the army 
assumed a more formidable shape. The officers had asked Congress to 
make a full settlement of all accounts, past and present. That body, 
feeble in resources, would not make any definite promises of present 
relief or future justice. This increased the discontent, and early in the 
spring (March 11th) a well-written anonymous address, purporting to be 
from a suffering veteran, M^as circulated through the American camp. 
It advised the army to take matters into its own hands, and make a 
demonstration that should alarm the people and Congress, and thus 
obtain justice. It declared that to be tame in their present situation 
would be worse than weakness on the part of the soldiers, and it 
exhorted them to " suspect the man who could advise to more modera- 
tion and longer forbearance." The tenor of the whole address was 
inflammatorv. With it was privately circulated a notification of a meet- 
State of Xew York, <and in the custody of the corporation of Newburgh. It presents the 
remarkable feature in one room (which Wasliington used as a dining-room) of seven doors 
and only one window, with a huge fireplace, which is large enough to admit of roasting 
a small bullock whole. The house is filled with relics of the Revolution. 



ing of officers at a large building called the Temple, which had been 
erected for tiie use of public gatherings and the Free Masons of the army. 
These papers were brought to the notice of Washington on the day 
they were issued. He referred to them in general orders the next 
morning ; expressed his disapproval ; invited tlie general and field- 
officers of the army to assemble at the Temple at noon on the 19th 
(March, 1783), and requested General Gates to preside at the meeting. 
There was a full attendance. Washington stepped upon the platform to 
read an address which he had prepared for the occasion. As he put on 
liis spectacles he remarked : " You see, gentlemen, I have not only 

grown gray but Ijlind in your 
service." These words touched 
a tender chord of sympathy in 
all hearts. 

The address was a model — 
compact in construction, digni- 
fied and patriotic in sentiment, 
mild yet severe in its strictures, 
and abounding with the most 
important suggestions concerning 
the best interests of the army, 
represented by the men before 
him, the citizens, the Republic, 
and human freedom. On clos- 
ing his address Washington im- 
mediately retired, leaving the 
officers to discuss the subject 
unrestrained by his presence. 
The deliberations of the officers were brief. They unanimously con- 
demned the addresses ; voted thanks to their chief for the course he had 
pursued ; expressed their unabated attachment to his pei-son ; declared 
their unshaken confidence in the good faith of Congress, and their 
determination to bear with patience their grievances until they should 
be redressed. 

The author of the seditious addresses was Major John Armstrong, a 
member of Gates's military family and a young man then twenty-five 
years of age. lie was Secretary of War in Madison's Cabinet in 1814. 

A few weeks later the disbanding of the Continental army began at 
New Windsor and its vicinity. Congress proclaimed a cessation of 
hostilities on April 19th. The soldiers who had enlisted " for the war" 
claimed the right to go home. Congress insisted that their terms of 




enlistment would not expire before a definitive treaty of peace should be 
effected. Washington exercised the office of mediator and pacificator. 
He issued long and really indefinite furloughs to all the soldiers excepting 
those who re-enlisted until a peace establishment should be organized. 
The furloughed soldiers went home and never returned. A definitive 
treaty of peace was signed at Paris on September 3d (1783), and on 
October J8th Congress, by proclamation, discharged the soldiers of the 
Continental army.* 

Before the beginning of the disbandment of the army in June (1783) 
the officers, at the suggestion of General Knox, formed an association at 
their cantonment, near Newburgh, having for its chief objects the promo- 
tion of cordial friendship and indissoluble union among themselves, and 
to extend benevolent aid to such of its members as might need assistance. 
They named the organization the Society of the Cincinnati. Wash- 

* The number of the soldiers of the Continental army at its disbandment, and its con- 
dition, was much the same as it was at the time of the Declaration of Independence, seven 
years before. On July 4th it consisted of 7754 men present and fit for duty, including 
one regiment of artillery. Their arms were in a wretched condition. Nearly one half 
the muskets of the infantry were without bayonets. During the war 231,771 soldiers 
were enrolled in the Continental army. These were furnished by the respective States, 
each in number, as follows : 

New Hampshire 12,497 

Massachusetts 67,907 

Bhode Island 5,908 

Connecticut 31,ft39 

NewYork 17,781 

New Jersey 10,726 

Pennsylvania 2.5,678 

Delaware 2,386 

Maryland 13,912 

Virginia 26,678 

North Carolina 7,263 

South Carolina 6,417 

Georgia 2,679 

Total 331,771 

The last two survivors of the Continental army were Lemuel Cook, of New York, and 
William Hutcliings, of Maine. Cook was born at Plymouth, Lichfield County, Conn., 
in 1764, and died at Clarendon, Orleans County, N. Y., May 20th, 1866, at the -age of 
one hundred and two years. Hutcliings was born at York, Maine, October 6th, 1764, 
and died May 2d, 1866, also nearly one hundred and two years of age. Lemuel Cook 
enteretl the military service of his country in the spring of 1781, at the age of seventeen 
years, and was with the allied armies in the campaign against Cornwallis in Virginia. 
He was one of the regulars, and was a member of the Second Regiment of Light 
Dragoons, commanded by Colonel Sheldon, but was soon mustered into the infantry. 
At the end of the war he was discharged at Danbury, Conn. He soon afterward married 
Hannah Curtis, of Cheshire, Conn., by whom he had seven sons and four daughters. 
He married a second wife when he was seventy years of age. In his earlier years he 
lived in the then almost wilderness region of Utica, N. Y. Most of his children were 
born in Connecticut. He moved into Central New York with his young family, and 
lived at Clarendon about thirty years previous to his death. He was a farmer all his life. 
In 1863 his annual pension was increased from $100 to $200, and the last year of his life 
to $300. New York has the distinction of having as a citizen the Imt siirnving soldier of 
the Continental army. 



ington was chosen its president and General Henry Knox its secretary. 
This was called the General Society. State societies were formed 
auxiliary to the general society. To perpetuate the association, its con- 
stitution entitled the eldest masculine de- 
scendant of an original member to wear 
the order, or badge, and enjoy the priv- 
ileges of the society.* 

The last act in the drama of the old 
war for independence was performed at the 
city of New York late in 1783. The 
opening scene was the flight of the Loyal- 
ists, or Tories. These supporters of the 
crown were numerous and active, especially 
in New York City and State. They had 
aroused the most intense indignation — nay, 
hatred, of the Whigs against them by their 
oppressive conduct, civil and military, and 
when it was known that the British troops 
were soon to leave the city of New York 
they hastened, with the utmost consterna- 
tion, to fly to some place of refuge from 
the impending wrath of the patriots. 

In October a fleet of transports conveyed 
hundreds of Loyalists, or Tories, to Nova 
Scotia, and at the evacuation (which was 
delayed for want of vessels to transport 
them) other hundreds fled to the same 
British province. 

The property of many Loyalists in the 
State of New York was confiscated by laws 
passed for the purpose during the war, but 
after peace and independence were estab- 
lished justice and policy required a general 
anmesty. The harsh laws were repealed, 
and much of the confiscated property was 
restored. Many of the refugees in Nova Scotia who could procure the 
means to do so came back, and in the course of a score of vears the 


* Tli6 order or badge of tlie society consisted of a golden spread eagle, with enamel- 
ling, suspended on a ribbon. On the of tlie eagle is a medallion with a device repre- 
senting Cinciunatus at his plough receiving the Roman senators who came to offer him 
the chief magistracy of Rome. 


social animosities engendered bj the war were healed or greatly modi- 

The time fixed for the evacuation of New York was November 25th. 
On the morning of that day General Washington and his staff and Gov- 
ernor Clinton and staff, escorted by General Knox and some troops who 
came down from West Point, appeared at tlie (present) junction of Third 
and Fourth avenues — the " head of the Bowery Lane" — and halted there 
until noon. At one o'clock, when the British had withdrawn to the 
water's edge for embarkation, the Americans marched into the city, the 
general and governor at their head, and before three o'clock General 
Knox had taken possession of Fort George, at the foot of Broadway, amid 
the acclamations of thousands of citizens and the roar of artillery. Then 
Washington and his oflicers retired to Fraunce's Tavern.* Governor 
Clinton and the civil oflicers w^ent to the City Hall and re-established 
civil government, and at evening the chief magistrate gave a public din- 
ner at Fraunce's Tavern. The last sail of the British fleet that bore 
away the army and the Loyalists did not disappear beyond the Narrows 
before twilight. 

The final scene in the last act was now performed. Washington as- 
sembled his oflicers in a large room in Fraunce's Tavern on December 
4th, and there bade them farewell. He entered the room, and taking a 
glass of wine in his hand, said : 

" With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I 
most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and 
happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable." Having 
tasted the wine, he continued : " 1 cannot come to each of you to take 
my leave, but shall be obliged to you if each will come and take me by 
the hand." 

A tender scene ensued. Tears moistened the war-worn cheeks of the 
veterans before him as each pressed the hand of their beloved commander 
and received from his lips a kiss upon their foreheads. Then Wash- 
ington left the room in silence, passed through a corps of light infantry, 
walked to Whitehall (now the Staten Island Ferry), followed by a large 
multitude of grateful citizens, and at two o'clock p.m. entered a barge that 

* This building, yet standing, is on the corner of Broad and Pearl streets. It was 
partially destroyed by tire in .June, 1852. Samuel Fraunce, the proprietor, had a dark 
complexion, and was called "Black Sam." When President Washington resided in 
New York Fraunce became the caterer for the Presidential mansion. Freneau, in his 
" Hugh Gaine's Petition," makes that time-server allude to the cannonade of the Asia, 
man-of-war, and say : 

" At first we supposed it was only a sham 
Till he drove a round ball through the roof of Black Sara." 



conveyed liim to Paulus' Hook (now Jersey City), wlience he journeyed 
first to Philadelphia and thence to Annapolis, where the Continental 
Congress was in session. To that body, assembled in the Senate Chamber 
of the old State House, at noon on December 23d (1783), he resigned 
his commission of commander-in-chief of the armies, which he received 
from them more than eight years before. 

From x\nnapolis Washington journeyed to Mount Yernon in liis own 
carriage, accompanied by his wife, where he arrived on Christmas eve. 
Then he laid aside his sword and military garments, and, joyfully resign- 

^1 ^ 


ing the cnrcs of public life, like Cincinnatus, returned to his plough — a 
farmer on the banks of the Potomac. 

During all the stormy period, from the foundation of the State Govern- 
ment, in the summer of 1777, until the departure of the last liostile foot 
from, its shores, in 1783, New York liad been laying the foundations of 
its future greatness strong and deep, and at the same time it had been 
just and generous in its fraternal relations with its sister States. It 
grappled the great task before it with energy and wisdom. It held 
a commanding position. The prominent part it had taken in the mighty 
struggle just ended ; the fact that it alone of all the States had promptly 



met every requirement of tlie Provisional General Government, and even 
made advances on its own credit to supply the deficiencies of other 
States ; its extensive commerce and large territory, and the ability and 
patriotism of its leading statesmen, entitled it to special consideration, 
and gave it great weight in 
the councils of the nation. 

The sessions of the State 
Legislature were held alter- 
nately at Poughkeepsie, New 
York, and Albany, after the 
fliffht from Kin2:ston in the 
fall of 1777, until the begin- 
ning of 1798 — a period of 
about twenty years. At that 
time Albany became the per- 
manent political capital of the 
State, and a new great seal 
was adopted.* 

The first care of the Leg- 
islature after the war was 
the adjustment of boundaries, 
land claims, etc. In this par- 
ticular New York found itself in a peculiar situation, because of rival 
claims to its soil. Of the territory which, by the treaty of peace, was 
ceded by Great Britain to the United States in their collective capacity, 
each of the individual States claimed such portions as were compre- 


* Three great seals of the State of New York have been made. The first two were 
pendant, and the third is incumbent. The first great seal, adopted in 1777 by the con- 
vention that framed the State Constitution, was rudely engraved on brass. It bore on 
one side a rising sun ; motto, Excelsior ; legend, The Great Seal of the State of 
New York. On the other side a rock in the midst of the ocean, and the word Frustra. 
The above engraving is from a drawing of an impression made on beeswax and attached 
to a commission signed by Governor Clinton. It shows the method of attaching pendant 
seals to the parchment. It is three and a quarter inches in diameter and about three 
eighths of an inch in thickness. A second seal was authorized in 1798, and the description 
was recorded, January 22d, 1799, as follows : " The arms of the State complete, with 
supporters, crest, and motto ; round the same. The Great Seal op the State of New 
York. On the reverse a rock and waves beating against it ; motto, ' Frustra above ; 
1798 below.' " The obverse of the seal is delineated above. 

In 1809 the great seal (incumbent) now in use was ordered, and was first attached to a 
document in November of that year. It bears the arms of the State of New York, a little 
modified in the design. In the second seal the supporters are standing ; in the third they 
are sitting. In both the crest is the same — an eagle preparing to soar from a demi-globe. 


liended within their original grants or charters. Massachusetts conse- 
quently laid claim to a strip of land equal to its own extent north and 
south, and extending westward to "the South Sea," or tlie Pacific 
Ocean. This included all the territory of New York between the 
latitude of Troy on the north and the northern part of Ducliess County 
on the south. Connecticut made a similar claim on the same pretext. 
This would have included nearly all southern New York. Before con- 
sidering these claims, let us take a brief notice of the rights of older 
and more legitimate possessors and actual occupants of the soil of Kew 
York — the Six Nations, 

The conditions of peace with the Six Nations were settled between 
them and the United States at a treaty held at Fort Stanwix (Schuyler, 
now Rome) in October, 1784, at which Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler, 
and Arthur Lee represented the United States. By that treaty the 
western boundary of the Six Nations was fixed at the longitudinal par- 
allel of Buffalo. Red Jacket, afterward the great Seneca chief, then 
first appeared as an orator in opposition to the treaty, which deprived 
the Confederacy of their hunting-grounds north of the Ohio. The Six 
Nations were guaranteed the peaceable possession of their lands eastward 
of the boundary named, excepting a reservation of six miles square 
around Fort Oswego. 

From time to time after 1785 the State and individuals procured lands 
from the Indians by cession or by purchase. The Tuscaroras and 
Oneidas first parted with some of their territories in 1785. In 1788 
both the Oneidas and the Onondagas disposed of all their lands, except- 
ing some reservations, and in 1789 the Cayugas ceded all their lands to 
the State, excepting a reservation of one hundred square miles exclusive 
of Cayuga Lake. In each case the right of free hunting and fishing in 
all the counties was reserved. 

The Senecas parted with most of their territory in 1797. The same 
year the Mohawks, most of whom fled to Canada at the close of the war, 
relinquished all their lands to the State for a consideration. So late as 
1819 there were about five thousand of the Six Nations in the State, in 
possession, in eleven reservations, of two hundred and seventy-one 
thousand acres of land. In 1838 tliese lands had been disposed of, 
nearly all the titles extinguished, and the Indian population had removed 
westward, some of them beyond the Mississippi River. Such was the final 
act in the drama of the once powerful barbarian republic in the State of 
New York — the great Iroquois League. It now disappeared from the 
face of the earth and entered the realm of past history. 

The claim of Massachusetts to a part of the territory of New York 


was amicably adjusted by a conventiou held at Hartford in December, 
1786, when it was agreed that the Bay State should cede to New York 
all claims to "government, sovereignty, and jurisdiction" over about 
six million acres of the soil, including what is known as " Western New 
York." The domain extended from a line drawn north and south 
between Pennsylvania and Canada on the meridian of Seneca Lake to the 
western boundary of the territory of the Six Nations, already defined. 
At the same time New York ceded to Massachusetts and to her grantees 
and their heirs the right of pre-emption of the soil from the native 
Indians, and "all other estate, right, title, and property," excepting 
government, sovereignty, etc. The claim of Connecticut was summarily 

Massachusetts proceeded to sell the right of pre-emption of this tract. 
In 1T8S Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham bargained for the whole 
tract, agreeing to pay $1,000,000. Unable to fulfil the conditions, they 
took two million six hundred thousand acres. Between that time and 
1793 the remainder of the domain was disposed of to several purchaser8,f 
and settlements were soon afterward begun. 

After the peace (1783) Congress, considering measures for meeting the 
claims of public creditors, invited the several States to vest in that body 
power to levy duties on imports within their respective jurisdictions. 
All the States had acceded to this request in 1786 excepting New York. 
This State reserved that right to itself, and refused to make the col- 
lectors amenable to and removable by Congress. It also made the duties 
payable in tiie bills of credit issued by the State. At this juncture 
Congress asked Governor Clinton to call a special session of the Legisla- 
ture, for the purpose of passing a law conformable to those of other States 
concerning the public revenue. The governor refused compliance. 

* Under this claim Connecticut made some grants to settlers within the State of New 
York, also in Pennsylvania and in Ohio. The Wyoming Valley was settled by Con- 
necticut people, so also was the region in Ohio known as the Western Reserve. 

f The following is a list of the titles of the subdivisions of the Massaclmsetts domain in 
Western New York purchased of the Indians, with the number of acres in each : 

PMps and Gorham tract, 2,600,000 ; Moms Reserve, 500,000 ; Triangular, 87,000 ; 
Connecticut, 100,000 ; Craffie, 50,000 ; Ogden, 50,000 ; Cottinger, 50,000 ; Forty Thousand 
Acre, 40,000 ; Sterritt, 150,000 ; Church, 100,000 ; Morris's Honorary Creditors, 58,570 ; 
Holland Company's Purchase, 3,600,000 ; Boston Ten Towns, 230,400. Before the close 
of the last century a larger portion of the soil of Northern New York was in the posses- 
sion of land speculators. Among them xVlexander Macomb, father of General Macomb, 
was the most extensive holder, in Franklin, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, LewiS; Oswego, and 
Herkimer counties. He purchased over two million tive hundred thousand acres for 
eighteen cents an acre, on a long credit, without interest. This reckless squandering of 
the public domains by the commissioners of the Land Office was severely condemned. 


Tin's independent action of ^New York made the inherent weakness of 
the Articles of Confederation, as a form of national government, very 
conspicuous. New York had already taken official action, for the pur- 
pose of giving to Congress more power for the collecting of revenue than 
had yet been proposed.* 

Washington had observed with great anxiety the tendency toward ruin 
of the new government, and he now proposed a convention of represen- 
tatives of the States to consider amendments of the Articles. A conven- 
tion was called at Annapolis in September, 1780. Only five States 
responded. Kew York was one of them, and was represented by Alex- 
ander Hamilton. Nothing was done except to recommend the assem- 
bling of another convention at Philadelphia in May the next year. It 
was done. All the States but New Hampshire and Rhode Island were 
represented. Robert Yates, John Lansing, Jr., and Alexander Ham- 
ilton represented New York. Washington, a delegate from Virginia, 
was chosen president of the convention. He was ably supported by 
eminent statesmen from the several commonwealths. The convention 
was in session from May until September, 1787. It framed a new Con- 
stitution — the one (with some amendments) under which the Republic 
has ever since been governed. Copies of the instrument were sent to 
the Legislatures of the several States, to be submitted by them to conven- 
tions of delegates chosen by the people for approval or disapproval. 

Now came the tug of war. Differences of opinion concerning the new 

* " It is the glory of New York," says Bancroft, " that its Legislature was the first to 
impart the sanction of a State to the great conception of a Federal Convention to frame a 
constitiUion for the United States." The chief instrument in bringing about such action 
b}' the Legislature of New York was the then foremost character in the State, General 
Philip Schuyler, assisted by his son-in-law. Colonel Alexander Hamilton. From the very 
beginning of the discussion of plans for a national government Schuyler had deprecated 
the essential weakness of the proposed Articles of Confederation, and urged, on all occa- 
sions, the absolute necessity of u strong general government. At length the (Continental 
Congress, in May, 1782, considering the desperate condition of the finances of the country, 
appointed delegates to explain the common danger to the authorities of all the States. 
Governor Clinton called an extra session of the State of New York to receive the delega- 
tion which had been sent North. They met at Poughkeepsie in July. Hamilton repaired 
thither and lield consultations with the members of the Legislature, especially with his 
father-in-law. On motion of Schuyler the Legislature resolved itself into a Committee 
of the Whole on the State of the Nation. They adopted a series of resolutions, drafted, 
it is believed, by Hamilton, declaring the necessity for a stronger national government, 
that should have power to provide it.self with a sufficient revenue for the public use. 
The Legislatm-e incited Congress, for the common welfare, "to recommend and each 
State to adopt the measure of assembling a general convention of the States specially 
authorized to revise and amend the Confederation, reserving the right of the respective 
Legislatures to ratify their determinations." 



Constitution everywhere prevailed. Radical differences in sentiment 
had been conspicuous in the convention that framed it. The adherents, 
respectively, of the idea of a strong central government and of State 
supremacy were apparently irreconcilably antagonistic. 

Two of the Kew York delegates — Yates and Lansing — were decidedly 
favorable to the doctrine of State 
supremacy, while Hamilton* as 
etrongly advocated the plan of 
a powerful Federal Government 
wielding supreme authority. Ilarii- 
ilton's opinions prevailed in the 
convention. Yates and Lansing 
were so dissatisfied with the evi- 
dent sentiment of the convention 
that they withdrew, leaving Ham- 
ilton the sole representative of 
]S^ew York in the convention. 

This was the birth-time of the 
stalwart twins — the first two op- 
posing political parties in the 
United States — the Federalists 
and the Anti- Federalists. These 
parties were of a more pronounced 
and violent type in New York 
than elsewhere. Hamilton was 

the acknowledged leader of the Federalists, and Governor George Clin- 
ton of the Anti-Federalists. 

On January ITth, 1788, Egbert Benson f offered in the Legislature of 


* Alexander Hamilton was born at Nevis, West Indies, January 11th, 1757. He was 
of Scotch descent. Educated at King's (now Columbia) College, New York, he engaged 
in the political controversy preceding the Revolution ; became a captain of artillery in 
March, 1776 ; a member of Washington's military family in the spring of 1777, and 
served as his secretary and trusted confidant until 1781. He was of essential service to 
Washington. Hamilton married a daughter of General Philip Schuyler late in 1780. 
He was colonel of a regiment of New York troops at the siege of Yorktown, soon after 
which he left the army, studied law, and soon became eminent in his profession. He 
served as a member of Congress and of the New York Iicgislature ; was a member of the 
convention that framed the National Constitution, and was one of its chief advocates 
through the press. Washington appointed him Secretary of the Treasury in 1789, which 
post he resigned in 1795. When in 1798 war with France seemed probable, he was made 
second to Washington in command of the armies of the United States. On July 12th, 
1804, Hamilton died of wounds received in a duel with Aaron Burr. 

f Egbert Benson was one of the most active and useful men in New York at this time. 


New York a resolution providing for a State convention of representa- 
tives chosen by the people to consider the new National Constitution. 
This resolution elicited much and warm debate, but was finally adopted 
by both branches of the Legislature. 

From the moment when the new Constitution was published in New 
York spirited and sometimes violent contests between the advocates and 
opposers of the instrument occurred at public gatherings and in the 
public prints. Acrimonious publications appeared in newspapers and in 
pamphlets during the canvass and the sittings of the convention. On 
the one hand it was urged by the opponents of the proposed Constitution 
that by its adoption a fatal blow would be struck at the so-called " inde- 
pendent sovereignty" of the States, by the gradual absorption of the 
principal functions of government by the central power ; that the wealth 
and immense resources of New York especially, instead of being devoted 
to the development of its vast territory and possibilities, would be largely 
given to the accumulation of the wealth and power of the National 
Government, and that its political influence would be greatly diminished. 
It was argued that the inevitable tendency of such a state of things 
would be the establishment of a virtually monarchical government. 

To these arguments the advocates of the Constitution replied, pointing 
to the provisions of the instrument itself, that the distribution of the 
powers of the proposed new government was so carefully arranged that, 
80 far from enabling it to trench upon the jurisdiction of the States, it 
was itself liable to constant and serious encroachments on their part, 
and that the existing Confederacy — a mere league of independent States, 
held together only by the common interests of all its members and sub- 
ject to disintegration at the pleasure of any — was wholly inadequate to 
the purpose of a national government. It was at this period that the 
able essays in favor of the Constitution, written by Hamilton, Jay, and 
Madison, known collectively as The Federalist^ were pul)lislied and 
scattered widely over the Union with powerful effect. 

The sole question which seemed to govern the electors of New York 
in their choice of delegates to their convention seems to have been whether 
the candidates were for or against the adoption of the Constitution. 

He was born in New York City in 1746 ; died at Jamaica, L. I., in 1833. He was a 

most efficient member of the Revolutionary Committee of Safety, and wa.s a distinguished 
jurist, holding a high rank in jurisprudence. He was the first attorney -general of the 
State of New York, and member of the first State Legislature ; a delegate to the old 
Congress in 1784-88 ; a member of Congress, 1789-83 and 1813-15 ; and judge of the 
Supreme Court of New York 1794-1801. He received the degree of LL.D. from Harvanl 
and Dartmouth colleges, and was the first president of the New York Historical Society. 
He wrote a " Vindication of Major Andre." 


The inenibers ©f the convention chosen in the several counties 
assembled at the court-house in Poughkeepsie on June 17th, 1788, and 
was organized by the choice of Governor Clinton for its president, John 
McKesson and Abraham B. Bancker, secretaries, and Nicholas Power, 
printer to the convention. The convention was composed of sixty-one dele- 
gates,* a clear majority of whom were opposed to the new Constitution. 

The discussion of the sev- . 
eral articles of the Consti- yoy/y > -s^o 

tution began on June 19tli ^/Xc2^(^'tl^^ /^^^U^^-^^^:^^ 
and continued three weeks, 

durins" which time several ssigxatuuk of Nicholas powek. 

amendments were proposed 

and adopted. On July 11th John Jay moved that " the Constitution be 
ratified, and that whatever amendments might be deemed expedient 
should \iQ recommended y 

This motion called out the most vigorous opposition from the Anti- 
Federalists, and the majority of the convention urged the calling of a new 
national convention, for the purpose of making additional amendments 
specified by them. They proposed to amend Jay's motion so that it 
should read, " that the Constitution be ratified on the condition that certain 
specified amendments should be made." An able and prolonged discus- 

* Tlic following are the names of the delegates ehosen by the jieople of the several 
counties : 

City and Coxtnty of Xexa York. — John Jaj', Richard Morris, John Sloss Hobart, Alex- 
ander Hamilton, Robert R. Livingston, Isaac Roosevelt, James Duane, Richard Harrison, 
Nicholas Low. 

City and County of Albany. — Robert Yates, John Lansing, Jr., Henrj- Oothout, Peter 
Yroman, Israel Thompson, Anthony Ten Eyck, Dirck Swart. 

County of Suffolk. — Henry Scudder, Jonathan N. Havens, John Smith, Thomas Tread- 
well, David Hedges. 

County of Ulster. — George Clinton, John Cantine, Cornelius C. Schoonmaker, Etenezer 
Clark, James Clinton, Dirck Wynkoop. 

County of Queens. — Samuel Jones, John Schenck, Nathaniel Lawrence, Stephen Carman. 

County of Kings. — Peter Lefferts, Peter Vandervoort. 

County of Richmond. — Abraham Bancker, Gosen Ryerss. 

County of Westchester. — Lewis Morris, Philip Livingston, Richard Hatfield, Philip van 
Cortlandt, Thaddeus Crane, Lott W. Sarles. 

County of Orange. — John Haring, Jesse Woodhull, Henry Wisner, John Wood. 

County of Duchess.— Ze\)[M\.nvA\\ Piatt, Melancthon Smith, Jacobus Swartwout, 
Jonathan Akin, Ezra Thompson, Gilbert Livingston, John De Witt. 

County of Montgomery.— \\\\\\Am. Harper, Christopher P. Yates, John Frey, John 
Winn, Volkert Yeeder, Henry Staring. 

Counties of Washington and Clinton. — Ichabod Parker, John Williams, Albert Baker. 

I copied the above names from the original printed Journal of the Convention, in my 
possession. It was printed by Nirholiis Power, in quarto form. 




ri ^ 

^ v-S 



.1 *^i '4 



sion ensued, but before any vote was taken news reached Ponghkeepsie 
that the convention of New Hampshire had ratified the Constitution. 

This settled the question. The people of the requisite number of 
States had now spoken in the afiirmative. The question for the people 
of New York now to decide was not whether they preferred the new 
Constitution to the Articles of Confederation, but whether they would 
secede from the Union. The Anti-Federalists decided wisely and 
patriotically. The Federalists proposed a compromise between Jay's 
proposition and that of their opponents. The latter, not without hesita- 
tion and reluctance, yielded their assent to the following resolution : 

''''Resolved,, That the Constitution be ratified, in full confidence that 
the amendments proposed by this convention will be adopted." 

A most remarkable speech of three hours by Alexander Hamilton 
and a patriotic one by Gilbert Livingston, of Duchess, effected the happy 
result. There were fifty-seven members present and voted, thirty of 
them for the ratification of the Constitution and twenty-seven against it 
— a majority of three. This decision was taken on July 28th, and on 
that day the convention finally adjourned. On September 13th Gov- 
ernor Clinton officially proclaimed the National Constitution as the funda- 
mental law of the Republic. 

At a special session of the Legislature of New York, begun in the 
city of New York on December 8th (1788), they chose delegates to 
represent the State in the concluding session of the Continental Congress. 
They also appointed presidential electors and provided for the election, 
by the people, of six members of Congress. Under this provision 
Egbert Benson, William Floyd, John Hathorn, Jeremiah van Rensselaer, 
and Peter Sylvester were elected the first representatives of New York 
to seats in the National Congress under the new Constitution. The two 
Houses of the Legislature could not agree upon a ijiethod of choosing 
United States Senators, and none were appointed at that session. The 
State remained unrepresented in the National Senate during the first 
session of the first Congress. Finally the Legislature, convened in 
special session, by joint resolution passed on July 19th, appointed 
General Philip Schuyler and Rufus King* Senators. The latter gentle- 
man had only recently become a citizen of the State of New York. 

* Rufus King was born at Scarborough, Me., in March, 1755, and died at Jamaica, 
L. I., in April, 1827. He was a graduate of Harvard ; became a lawyer ; married the 
daughter of John Alsop, a rich merchant of New York, and ever afterward made that 
city his home. Mr. King, like Schuyler, was a leading Federalist. From 1798 to 1804 
he was United States minister at the court of Great Britain. He was again in the Senate, 
for the third time, in 1818. Always an anti-slavery man, he was one of the leaders of the 
opposition to the admission of Missouri as a slave-labor State. He again went to 
Ensrland as American minister in 1825, but soon returned in feeble health. 



So soon as the questions concerning territory, boundaries, ownership, 
and government, which had occupied the minds of the people of New 
York, were settled and adjusted, the virgin soil and topography of the 
State attracted the attention of enterprising peo])le, and settlements 
began to carry light and civilization into the dark wilderness. 

New political divisions were rapidly organized. In 1770 Albany 
County embraced all of New York northward of Ulster County and west 
of the Hudson E.iver, also all north of Duchess County and eastward of 
that river. In 1772 Charlotte and Tryon counties were taken from 
Albany. The name of the former w'as changed in 1784 to Wasliington, 
and that of the latter to Montgomery. A part of Charlotte was included 
in the counties of Cumberland and Gloucester in forming the State of 

Tryon County included all the province west of a longitudinal line 
running nearly through the middle of Schoharie County. In 1789 
Ontario County was taken from Montgomery County, and included all 
the land of which pre-emptive right had been ceded to the State of 

No State in the Union presented so wide a range for enterprise and 
exertion as New York after the war, especially in the industries of 
agriculture and commerce. The borders of its great river were then 
settled with wealthy, industrious, and thriving people. Campaigns 
against the Indians, especially that of Sullivan in 1779, had revealed to 
soldiers of the latter, who were largely New Englanders, the richness of 
the soil of the interior, and they gave glowing accounts to their friends 
of the beauty and fertility of the land they had traversed. The j^urchase 
of great tracts of land for speculative purposes, already mentioned, 
followed, and set in motion emigration from the east into that region. 

The first emigrant from New England was Hugh White, of Middle- 
town, Conn., with his own family and those of four of his neighbors. 
They seated themselves, at the begiiming of 1784, about four miles west 
of (present) Iltica. This settlement was the first rose that blossomed in 
the wilderness of Central and "Western New York, The now beautiful 
and thriving borough of Whitestown is of itself a grand monument to 
the memory of its founder, who died there, in 1812, at the age of eighty 


years. Before 1790 scores of families flocked into that region, largely 
from New England, and thenceforth emigrant wagons with families, 
implements of labor on farms and for domestic purposes were continually 
carrying forward population farther and farther into the wilderness of 
"Western Xew York. 

In 1788 Mr. Phelps, one of the purchasers of the six million acres 
tract, penetrated to the country of the Genesee. He and some 
friends went up the Mohawk in boats from Schenectady as far as pos- 
sible, and made their way to the outlet of Canandaigua Lake, where they 
planted the seed of a, flourishing settlement by constructing some log- 
huts and making it the business capital of the domain. The Rev.' 
Samuel Kirkland, an earnest missionary laborer among the Oneidas, was 
their interpreter. Gorham procured cessions of lands from the Senecas. 

In 1791 a party of emigrants constructed a wagon-road from Whites- 
town to Canandaigua, the flrst ever opened from the Mohawk River to 
the Genesee country. These pioneers suffered great hardships in the 
performance of their task, for the route lay over lofty hills and deep 
ravines, broad marshes and swift-running streams ; yet they persevered, 
and made a highway for swarms of emigrants from New England, who 
soon made it a beaten path. It was soon afterward continued to the 
foot of Lake Erie, at the site of Buffalo. In this work the Government 
did nothing ; private individuals did everything. This highway was the 
first work of internal improvement in the State of New York. Others 
of greater importance will be noticed presently. 

When the National Constitution was adopted by the requisite number 
of States the patriotic opponents of the instrument generally acquiesced 
in the decision. Judge Yates, who in the National and State conven- 
tions had strongly opposed it, now, in his first charge to the Grand Jury 
at Albany after the ratification, said : 

" Before the Constitution was ratified I had been opposed to it ; it is 
now mine and every other man's duty to support it." 

But it was not long before party strife became more violent than ever 
throughout the country, especially in the State of New York, where 
party lines were sharply drawn between the Federalists and Anti-Feder- 
alists. Washington identified himself with the former. The Constitu- 
tion was not all that he could have wished, yet he regarded its adoption 
as a real blessino: to the countrv. In a letter to General Schuyler on the 
subject he M'rote : 

" That invisible Hand which has so often interposed to save our 
country from impending destruction seems in no instance to have been 
more remarkablv exerted than in that of disposing the people of this 



continent to adopt, in a peaceable manner, a constitution whicli, if well 
administered, bids fair to make America a happy nation." 

Tlie choice of the iii'st President of the United States under the 
National Constitution was done very quietly, for there was no partisan- 
ship displayed. The eyes and the hearts of tlie whole people were 
instinctively turned toward Washington, the " Saviour of his Country,' ' as 
tlie fittest man to guide the vessel of State, with its precious freight, on 


its first necessarily perilous voyage. He received every vote in the Elec- 
toral College. John Adams was chosen Vice-President. 

The Continental Congress had decreed that the city of New York 
should be the residence of the National Government. The City Hall, 
in Wall Street, fronting the head of Broad Street, was fitted up f»r the 
use of the National Legslature. March 4th (1790) was the day designated 
for the organization of the new government. That auspicious day was 
ushered in by the ringing of bells and the booming of cannons ; but the 
members of Congress were tardy in their journeys to the capital, owing 
to the wretched state of the roads. On the appointed day only a few of 
them were present. It was April 6tli before a quorum was assembled, 



when the two Houses proceeded to count the votes for President and 
Vice-President and declare the result. 

The Vice-President reached jSTew York on April 21st. The President 
arrived two days later. His journey from Mount Vernon had been an 
almost continuous ovation. A committee of Congress met him at Eliza- 
bethtown, JST. J. , and from its port he was conveyed in a barge to the 
foot of Wall Street, at the East 
River, where he was met by the 
governor, the municipal authori- 
ties, and a vast concourse of citi- 
zens, who formed a procession and 
conducted him to the mansion 
in Cherry Street, near Franklin 
Square, prepared for his residence. 
That was then the most fashion- 
able part of the city. That even- 
ing the M'liole town M'as illumi- 

At noon on April 30th, after 
religioiis services had been held 
in all the churches in the city, 
Washington left the j^residential 
mansion, escorted by a procession 
formed of members of Congress 

and heads of departments in carriages, led by the City Cavalry, and pro- 
ceeded to the City Hall, where, in its street gallery, in the presence of a 
vast multitude of people, the inaugural ceremonies were performed. The 
oath of office was administered by Robert R. Livingston,* the first 
Chancellor of the State of New York. Returning to the Senate Cham- 
ber, the President read his inaugural address, after which the whole 
assembly went on foot to St. Paul's Chapel, on Broadway, where prayers 


* Robert R. Livingston was born in New York City November 27th, 1747 ; died at 
the Livingston Manor-IIouse February 26tli, 1813. He was graduated at King's (now 
Columbia) College, became a successful lawyer, and was recorder of the city of New 
York in 1773. He was elected a member of the Continental Congress in 1775 ; was one 
of the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, but necessary absence from 
Philadelphia prevented his voting for and signing it. He was appointed the first chan- 
cellor of the State of New York, which position he lield until 1801. He was secretary 
for foreign affairs of the General Government from 1781 to 1783 ; a member of the com- 
mittee that framed the National Constitution ; minister of the United States to France in 
1801-1804, and negotiated for the purchase of Louisiana, and was the efficient coadjutor 
of Robert Fulton in perfecting navigation on the Hudson River by steam. 


were read by the cliaplain of tlie Senate. Then tlie President was 
escorted to liis residence. Tlie ceremonies of the day were conchided 
by a display of fireworks in the evening. 

General Schuyler, John Jay, and Colonel Alexander Ilatnilton were 
the chief leaders of the Federal Party in New York, and had great influ- 
ence with President Washington. Schuyler and Hamilton were uncom- 
promising partisans, as all men of strong moral convictions are apt to be, 
and they induced the President to bestow Government patronage upon 
men who were, either personally or politically, opposed to Governor 
Clinton. Jay was appointed Chief Justice of the United States ; James 
Duane, Judge of the District of New York ; Richard Harrison, United 
States Attorney ; and William S. Smith, Marshal. Hamilton, who was 
tlie soul of the Federal Party, was called to the Cabinet as Secretary of 
the Treasury. 

The spirit of the Constitution of New York was less democratic than 
that of any other State. It placed an enormous amount of power and 
patronage in the hands of the governor. With this advantage Clinton 
and his friends were enabled to carry on a political warfare with great 
vigor and success for a very long time ; but the Constitution afforded a 
check upon an undue exercise of that power when bearing upon the 
control of offices by the provision of a Council of Appointment. That 
Council, as we have observed, was created by the choice of the Assembly, 
of one Senator each year out of each Senatorial district, and these, Avith 
the governor, formed the Council. The governor had a right to give a 
casting vote, but had no vote for any other purpose. He was ex- 
officio president of the Council, and was required, " by the advice and 
consent of the Council, to appoint all officers" whose appointment was 
not otherwise provided for. 

After the inauguration of AYashington political parties in New York 
became mixed. The Federalists determined to form a coalition for the 
])urposc of breaking the Anti-Federalist ascendency. They induced the 
An ti- Federalist Judge Yates to accept from them the nomination for 
governor in opposition to Clinton. The coalition was unsuccessful, and 
Clinton Avas re-elected by a strong majority. The election was warmly 
contested. The whole number of votes cast in the State was 12,343. 
The census of 1790 certified the number of the population then in the 
State to be 340,120, an increase of more than 85,000 in five years. This 
increase had been caused largely by emigration into the northern and 
western parts of the State. The city of New York then contained a 
population of 33,131. 

The subject of improving the internal navigation of the State now 


engaged the earnest attention of tlioughtfiil men. General Schuyler 
saw, when in England in 1761, the canal constructed by the Duke of 
Bridgewater. lie was deeply impressed with what he saw and heard, 
and as opportunities offered he urged the importance of improving the 
navigation of the Mohawk River by short canals around rifts and 
shallows. He suggested that by a short canal between the Mohawk and 
Wood Creek, which flows into Oneida Lake, and the improvement of 
the navigation of that stream and the outlet of Oneida Lake into the 
Oswego River, continuous navigation between the Hudson and Lake 
Ontario might be effected. At Schuyler's suggestion, Governor Sir 
Henry Moore presented the subject to the Colonial Legislature in 1768. 

So early as 1772 Christopher Colles * lectured in New York and 
Albany on Inland Lock Navigation, and M^armly advocated Schuyler's 
project. Schuyler also urged the construction of a canal between the 
Hudson and Lake Champlain so early as 1776. In 1784 Colles presented 
a memorial to the Legislature proposing the improvement of the naviga- 
tion of the Mohawk, and that year he penetrated the country to Wood 
Creek, published an account of his observations in a pamphlet, and in 
the winter of 1786 the Legislature made a report favorable to his project. 
Nothing more seems to have been done. 

At about that time Washington made a tour in the interior of the 
State of New York. He was then much interested in the subject of 
internal navigation in his own State. He passed over Lake George and 
down Lake Champlain as far as Crown Point. Returning to Schenec- 
tady, he went up the Mohawk to Fort Schuyler (now Rome), and visited 
Otsego Lake and its vicinity. He observed the feasibility and com- 
mended the importance of inland navigation in the State of New York. 

Soon after this Elkanah Watson appears upon the scene as a most 
earnest advocate of a continuous water communication between the 

* Christopher Colles was born ia Ireland about the year 1737, and was educated by- 
Richard Pococke, the Oriental traveller. After the death of his patron, in 1765, he came 
to America, and, as we have ob.served, became an earnest advocate of canal navigation. 
He was a skilful engineer. He proposed plans for supplying the city of New York with 
pure water so early as 1774. In 1797 he proposed to bring the waters of the Bronx 
River, in "Westche-ster County, into the city. He constructed a series of sectional road 
maps for the use of travellers. His active mind kept his hands busy in a variety of 
employments. At one time he was the actuary of the Academy of Fine Arts. He was 
also a notable inventor, and enjoyed the friendship and esteem of De Witt Clinton, Dr. 
Samuel L. Mitchell, Dr. Hosack, Jarvis, the painter, and other distinguished men of New 
York. The efRgy of Colles was borne in the grand procession in New York which cele- 
brated the completion of the Erie Canal. He had then been in his grave about four j-ears, 
having died in the autumn of 1821. His remains lie unhonored in the burying-ground 
of the Episcopal Church in Hudson Street. 



Hudson River ami Lake Ontario. In tliis project lie spent much time 
for years, and was a most efficient supporter of General Schuyler's canal 
projects. He made journeys westward from Albany to gather up facts, 
and he penetrated the country to Seneca Lake.* 

The final result of the endeavors of these public-spirited men was the 
passage of an act by the Legislature of New York, in January, 1792, for 

chartering two inland lock naviga- 
tion companies. One was called 
the Western Inland Lock Naviga- 
tion Company, and the other the 
Northern Inland Lock Navigation 
Company. These companies were 
formed, and General Schuyler was 
unanimously chosen president of 
each company. Thomas Eddy, an 
enterprising Quaker, was appointed 
treasurer of the Western Company. 
Accompanied by Goldsbrow Ban- 
yer and Elkanah Watson and sur- 
veyors and engineers, Schuyler 
made a thorough exploration of the 
whole route for the western enter- 
prise, from Schenectady to the 
waters of Lakes Seneca and Onta- 
rio, in August and September, 1792. They also explored the route 
for the northern canal, from the head of tide-water of the Hudson, 
just above Albany, to the head of Lake Champlain, at (present) White- 
hall. These explorations were satisfactory to both companies, and in the 
spring of 1793 the Western Company began work at the Little Falls, 
in Herkimer County, with artificers and about three hundred laborers. 

* Elkanah Watson was born at Plymouth, Mass., in January, 1758, and died at Port 
Kent, Essex ('ounty, N. Y. , in December, 1842. He was a clerk in the employ of John 
Brown, of Providence, R. I., who sent him to Boston with a large amount of powder for 
the patriot army besieging it in 1775. Before he was nineteen jx'ars of .age Brown .sent 
him to Charleston and other Southern ports with $50,000, to buy cargoes for the Euro- 
pean markets. At the age of twenty-one Congress sent despatches by him to Dr. 
Franklin, in Paris. He remained in France until 1784, engaged in a commission business 
at Nantes in connection with Mr. Brown. He went to Albany in 1789, and became 
greatly interested in General Schuyler's canal projects. He afterward travelled in Europe, 
and in 1807 settled at Pittsfleld, Mass., as a farmer, and made many improvements in 
agriculture. After a visit to the lake region in the North-west he .settled at Port Kent, 
on the west side of Lake Champlain, where he resided until his death. His autobiog- 
raphy was completed and published by his son, Wiu.slow C. Watson, in 1856. 



The Korthern Company began work at Stillwater the same year. Delays 
followed, chiefly on account of a want of funds, and yet so vigorously 
did the president and his associates, especially Mr. Watson, push on the 
work when means were at command, that boats of sixteen tons burden 
passed over the whole route, from Schenectady to Oneida Lake, in 1796, 
without interruption. There were only about six miles of canalling 

Unfortunately, the locks in the canals had been constructed of wood, 
and were too perishable. William Weston, a distinguished canal 
engineer, came to this country from England early in 1795. He was 
employed to examine the whole work of the companies with General 
Schuyler, and the result was an order for him to reconstruct the locks of 
stone. This operation exhausted the funds of the company. 

In 1793 Isambert Brunei, a distinguished French engineer, arrived 
with a letter of introduction to General Schuyler. He was employed in 
1794 in a survey of the Xorthern or Cham plain Canal. That was 
almost fifty years before he completed the famous tunnel under the 
Thames, at London, and received the honors of knighthood from the then 
young Queen of England. 

In 1796 Mr. Weston, under the direction of the Western Company, 
made an exploration of a route for a canal between the Mohawk and 
Seneca rivers. A canal was speedily constructed, and became the living 
germ of the grand Erie Canal which was afterward built by the State. 
It led Gouverneur Morris, in 1801, to conceive the greatest of canal 
projects — namely, the connection of Lake Erie with the Hudson by an 
artificial river, a work that was completed a little more than twenty years 
afterward. This great work will receive special notice presently. 

The interest of General Schuyler in canal navigation never flagged 
during his life. So late as the summer of 1802, when he was almost 
sixty-nine years of age, he endured the hardships incident to an explora- 
tion of the whole line of the Western Canal route, and gave his personal 
attention to the construction of new locks, repairing old ones, and 
removing obstructions. His manuscript journal kept during that explo- 
ration is before me, and is filled with vivid pictures of the labors and 
privations which he then endured. To General Schuyler is undoubtedly 
due the honor of the paternity of the canal system of Xevv York, which 
contributed so much to its prosperity. 

Immediately after the war for independence the city of jSTew York — 
the commercial metropolis of the State — began the task of recuperation. 
Fire had consumed a vast number of its dwellings ; its churches had 
been desecrated and laid waste ; its commerce had been destroyed by 



the war, and its people had been estranged from each other by differ- 
ences in political opinions. New York was compelled to begin life 
anew, as it were.. The tribute which it paid to the cause of human 
freedom was large, but had been most freely and cheerfully given. 

The Whio- refugees returned to tlie city, many of them to find their 
dwellings in ruins. The old charter was resumed, and municipal govern- 
ment was soon re-established. In February, 1784, James Duane,* an 

ardent Whig, was chosen mayor. 
He had found his dwelling on 
his farm, near (present) Gramercy 
Park, in ashes and his fortune 
wrecked. Although the vitality of 
the city had been paralyzed, yet 
men — " high-minded men" who 
" constitute a State," were left, 
and their influence was soon mani- 
fested in the visible aspects of pub- 
lic spirit and the revival of com- 
merce. But not much was done 
in the way of public improvements 
before the close of the century. 

One hundred years ago there 
was only here and there a house 
above Murray Street on the west 
side of the city of New York, and 
above Chatham Square on the east side. Not a bank or insurance company 
existed in the city. Wall Street was the seat of wealth, elegance, and 
fashion. Its dwellings were chiefly of wood and roofed with shingles, 
and the sides of many of tliem were of the same materials. Between 
Broadway and the Hudson River above Reade Street might be seen 
scores of cows belonging to the citizens grazing in the fields. In 1790 
the first sidewalks in the city were laid on each side of Broadway, 

* James Duane was born in New York City in February, 1733. He inherited a large 
estate in tlie lower Mohawk region, and began a settlement there in 1765. Duanesbiirg 
was the product. He married a daughter of Colonel Rolwrt Livingston. A member of 
the first Continental Congress, he was an active patriot all through the war that ensual. 
He was residing in New York City at the breaking out of the war ; left it when the 
British took possession of it, but returned immediately after the British evacuated it. He 
was made the first mayor imder the new order of things. He was a memlx-r of the 
State Council of Appointment and of the Senate, also of the convention that ratifi(Kl the 
National Constitution. He was United States District Judge from 1789 to 1794. Judge 
Duane died at Duanesburg in February, 1797. 




between Yesey and Murray streets. They were of stone and brick, and 
so narrow that only two persons might walk abreast. 

The city was the seat of the National Government from 1785 until 
1790, when it was transferred to Philadelphia. During the session of 
the State Convention at Poughkeepsie in the summer of 1788 the city 
was much excited by the discussions of opposing factions. Congress 
was then in session at Kew York. On July 8th, eighteen days before 
the Constitution was ratified, its ardent friends in IS^ew York, feeling 
confident of success, fitted up a little frigate on wheels, and called it 


the Federal Ship JIamilton. It was commanded by Commodore 
Nicholson and manned by thirty seamen and mariners. Accompanied' 
by a great procession, it was drawn by ten horses from the Bowling Green 
to Bayard's Farm, near Grand Street and the Bowery, where tables were 
spread and dinner was provided for four or five thousand people. At a 
circular table, which was a little elevated, were seated members of 
Congress, heads of departments, foreign representatives, and other dis- 
tinguished persons. From this table thirteen other tables diverged, at 
which sat the multitude. 


An Anti-Federal newspaper (Greenleaf's Patriotic Register) lam- 
pooned tlie procession and its promoters. The Federalists were greatly 
irritated, and when the Constitution was ratified a mol> broke into the 
office of the offending newspaper and destroyed the press and types. 
They then attacked the house of General Lamb, tlie Collector of the 
Port,* in "Wall Street, lie had been forewarned, and was forearmed. 
He had barricaded the lower story of his house, and with two or three 
friends with muskets, in the second story, and liis daughter, a young lady 
from Connecticut, and a colored servant in the attic well supplied with 
tiles and glass bottles to shower on the heads of the rioters, they so well 
defended the castle that the assailants were compelled to raise the siege 
and retire discomfited. 

The city of New Yorlc was several times scourged by yellow-fever. It 
appeared there in 1742, but its most frightful ravages occurred during 
the closing decade of the last century. It broke out in 1791, but it was 
so late in the season that frosts soon checked it. In 1795 it slew 772 
persons. Its most fearful visit was in 1798, when it raged from July 
until November, and killed 2100 persons in the city and 300 residents 
who had fled from it. In 1799 and 1800 this plague prevailed, but in a 
mild form ; but in 1803 the disease slew about '600 persons. When it 
again broke out in 1805 with much violence, so great was the panic that 
one third of the population, then numbering 75,000, fled to the country. 
The city was almost entirely exempted from this dreadful scourge 
from 1803 nntil 1819, when yellow-fever raged there to a considerable 
extent. It again appeared in 1822 and 1823, but in a comparatively 
mild form. Since the latter year only sporadic cases have been known. 
It has never appeared in the form of an epidemic. This disease never 
originates or scarcely ever exists north of the latitude of the city of New 
York, unless the seeds of the malady shall be carried by fugitives from 
the plague in lower latitudes. 

* A part of Lamb's residence was used for the Custom House, the business of the port 
of New York not then being extensive enough to need the space or warrant the expense 
of a separate building. 



George Clinton, the Kepublican governor, was re-elected in the 
spring of 1792, with Pierre van Cortland as lieutenant-governor. The 
opposing candidates were John Jay and Stephen van Rensselaer, the 
latter a son-in-law of General Schuyler and the last of the patroons. In 
the autumn of tlie same year jjresidential electors were chosen, and 
Washington was re-elected by the unanimous vote of the Electoral 

The dividing line between the two great political parties — Federalists 
and Republicans — was now more distinctly drawn than ever, owing to 
the influence of the French Revolution. When that great movement 
began, and until it had progressed some time, there was only one feeling 
among Americans in regard to it, and that was earnest sympathy for 
their old ally. But when the movement fell under the control of violent 
demagogues, and conservative men like Lafayette were driven from their 
country ; when the civilized world was shocked by the terrible excesses 
of the Jacobins, many of the leaders of opinion in America paused. 
Apprehending that the intrigues of the French and the generous sym- 
pathy of the Americans might involve the young Republic in a European 
war, they not only withdrew their sympathies, but soon went so far as 
to denounce the original revolution. These were chiefly Federalists. 

The Republicans, on the other hand, advocated the French Revolution 
with great warmth, hailing its authors and promoters as friends and 
brothers. They wrongly charged the Federalists with hostility to the 
principles of the French Revolution, with friendship for their late 
enemy, Great Britain, and even with anti-republican and monarchical 
tendencies. This antagonism of opinion grew more and more intense 
when, in the spring of 1793, E. C. Genet — " Citizen" Genet, as he was 
styled — arrived in this country as the representative of the French 

Mr. Jefferson, a member of Washington's Cabinet as Secretary of 
State, was in France when the revolution there broke out, and he had 
come home filled with admiration and love for the cause, which had not 
then been stained b}^ the outrages of the Jacobins. He expected to find 
equal enthusiasm among his countrymen ; but when he reached New 
York he was chilled by the frigidity which he encountered. He was 



cordially received by the wealthier and more refined classes of society at 
New York, but these were coinposed largely of members of the old Tory 
families, whose opinions, frankly spoken, often shocked him. He 
became painfully sensitive, and he soon regarded the conservatism of 
"Washington, Adams, Hamilton, and other conspicuous Federalists as 
evidence of their unfaithfulness to the cause for which they had so zeal- 
ously contended. Toward Ham- 
ilton he indulged positive dislike, 
and considered him a dangerous 

By common consent Mr. Jef- 
ferson became the leader of the 
rapidly growing Republican Party, 
which hailed with enthusiasm the 
tidings of the death of the French 
King, the proclamation of the 
Republic with all its horrors, 
the virtual declaration of war by 
France against all monarchical 
Europe, and its actual conquest of 
a part of the Netherlands, a friend 
of the United States. Perceiving 
the danger with which such blind 
entliusiasm menaced the Repub- 
lic, Washington issued a proclama- 
tion of neutrality in the spring of 1793. It was bitterly denounced by 
the French Party, as the Republicans were now called. 

It was in the midst of this excitement in the public mind that Citizen 
Genet arrived* at Charleston, S. C, and in defiance of the proclama- 
tion, proceeded to fit out privateers (which were manned chiefly by 
American citizens) to prey upon British commerce in our waters. One 

* Edmund Charles Genet was born at Versailles, France, in January, 1763, and died 
at Greenbush, opposite Albany, N. Y., in July, 1834. He was a precocious lad, who 
early developtxl a taste and talent for literature, like his notable sister, Madame Campan. 
He was attached to foreign embassies in his youth, and had been trained in the arts of 
diplomacy before he came to America. As will be observed in the te.vt, his conduct as 
representative of the French revolutionists became very obnoxious to our Government. 
Such changes took place in France that Genet dared not return. He remained in New 
York, and married the daughter of Governor George Clinton, and became one of the 
best citizens of the connnonwealth. He was twice married, his second wife Ixjing the 
daughter of Mr. Osgood, the first Postmaster- General under the National Constitution. 
Fond of agriculture, he took great interest in its pursuit. His last illness was occasioned 
by attendance at a meeting of an agricultural society of which he was president. 



of these — V Amhu^ade — the frigate that brought the minister to our 
shores, went prowling up the coast, seizing Enghsh vessels, and pro- 
ceeded to Philadelphia, bearing at her masthead and elsewhere liberty- 
caps. She was greeted by a multitude of citizens with " peals of exulta- 
tion," Jefferson wrote to Madison. Genet soon followed. He had 
received everywhere on his land journey demonstrations of delight. 
He was met at the Schuylkill by a crowd of citizens and escorted into 
Philadelphia, where he was entertained at a public banquet by his 
Republican friends before he had presented his credentials to the Presi- 
dent of the United States ! He had changed the name of L' Ambuscade 
to Little Democrat^ in French, and from that time the Republicans were 
called " ])emocrats' ' in derision.'" 

Genet bore secret instructions from his Government to foment discord 
between Great Britain and the United States, and to set the American 
Government at defiance, if necessary, to accomplish his purpose ; and 
yet when he presented his credentials to the President he uttered the 
most vehement protestations of the peaceful and friendly intentions of 
the French Republic. "]S"othing," wrote Jefferson, "could be more 
affectionate, more magnanimous than the purport of Genet's mission. 
. . . He offers everything and asks nothing," But wlien Genet left 
the presence of Washington the minister's pride was touched and his 
hopeful ardor was chilled. He had found himself in an atmosphere of 
the jnost profound dignity in that presence, and he was made to realize 

* Madness appears to have seized some of the staid citizens of Philadelpliia at that 
moment. The sympathizers with the French revolutionists at that hanquet (May 23d, 1793) 
presented some strange scenes. Governor Mifflin was among the guests. The chief 
music was the air of tlie "Marseillaise." A Liberty Tree crowned the table. The 
flags of the two nations were fraternally enfolded. A red cap of liberty was first placed 
on the head of Genet and then upon the head of each guest, who, while it rested there, 
uttered some patriotic sentiment. A roasted pig on the table received the name of the 
murdered King of the French. The head of the pig was severed from the body and 
carried round to each guest, who, after placing the liberty-cap on his head, pronounced 
the word ' ' tyrant, ' ' and proceeded to mangle with his knife the head of the luckless 
porker ! Earlier than this, at a public dinner in Philadelphia to celebrate the alliance 
with France (February 6th, 1778), a pike at the head of the table bore upon its point a 
bonnet rouge entwined with the flags of the two nations. 

There was a strange political demonstration at Boston a few days earlier. An ox was 
roasted whole, decorated with ribbons, and borne in a procession through the streets on 
a car drawn by sixteen horses, followed by carts carrying sixteen hundred loaves of bread 
and two hogsheads of punch, which were distributed among the people. Three hundred 
citizens, with Samuel Adams at their head, sat down to a banquet. The children of all 
the schools were paraded in the streets, to whom cakes were presented bearing the 
stamped words, Liberty and Equality. 

The citizens of New York did not indulge in such extravagances at that time. 


liis own littleness while standing before that noble representative of the 
best men and soundest principles of the American Republic. He with- 
drew from the audience abashed and subdued. He had heard sentiments 
of sincere regard for the French nation that touched the sensibilities of 
his heart, and he had felt in the genuine courtesy and severe simplicity 
and frankness of the President's manner, wholly free from effervescent 
enthusiasm, a withering rebuke, not only of the adulation in public 
places, but also of his own pretentious aspirations and ungenerous 
duplicity. lie had already been rebuked by the action of more than 
three hundred merchants and other substantial men in Philadelphia, 
who on the day of his arrival had signed and presented to President 
Washington an address expressing their unswerving loyalty to the letter 
and spirit of his proclamation of neutrality. 

Tiie Republicans were irrepressible. In their infatuation they formed 
Democratic societies in various cities, in imitation of the Jacobin 
clubs of Paris. Their operations were in secret, and their proceedings 
were often extremely disloyal. In servile imitation of their prototypes, 
they adopted the peculiar phrases of the populace of Paris, and a power- 
ful faction was soon visible in the United States more French than 
American in their habits of thought and political principles. 

The Government went straight forward in the performance of its 
duty, satisfied that it would be sustained by the great mass of the 
American people. British vessels captured by privateers were restored 
to their owners ; American citizens acting as privateers were prosecuted ; 
collectors at ports of the United States were ordered to seize all priva- 
teers that entered them ; Chief Justice Jay declared it to be the duty of 
all Grand Juries to present for trial persons engaged in such violation of 
the laws of nations ; and the privateers v/ere ordered to leave American 
waters forthwith. 

Genet and his American partisans were greatly irritated. Encouraged 
by the disloyal faction. Genet vehemently protested against the acts 
of the Government, and even threatened to "appeal from the Presi- 
dent to the 23eople" — in other words, to incite an insurrection. He 
actually began to fit out a privateer at Philadelphia, when Governor 
Mitiiin, though a Republican, threatened to seize the vessel if he per- 
sisted. Jefferson soon found his French friend exceedingly troublesome. 
He begged him to pause in his outrageous career. The minister refused 
to listen, and raved like a madman. Jefferson, disgusted with his con- 
duct, joined Washington in requesting the French Government to recall 
their obnoxious representative. Genet went to New York, where ho 
was received with more enthusiasm, if possible, than at Philadelphia. 


He was welcomed by ringing of hells and salvos of cannon fired in honor 
of the success of the Republicans of France. A great meeting had been 
held in the Fields (now City Hall Park), at -which a committee of forty 
had been appointed to meet him at Paulas Hook (Jersey City) and 
escort him into the town. The Federalists, supported by the Chamber 
of Commerce, held counter meetings, denounced Genet's conduct, and 
warmly endorsed the Proclamation of Neutrality. 

The Republican newspapers in New York had zealously espoused the 
French cause, and the minister \\^^ feted and caressed to his heart's con- 
tent. The liberty-cap was raised upon the flag-staff at the Tontine 
Coffee-House ; tri-colored cockades were worn by many citizens ; the 
Marseillaise Hymn was chanted and the cai'tnagiiole * was performed in 
the streets. For a time New York seemed transformed into a French 

Genet was recalled. A political change had taken place in France. 
He was of the Girondist or more moderate faction, who ruled when he 
came here. They had fallen, and the Jacobins were conducting the 
dreadful Reign of Terror. He dared not return, so he married a 
daughter of Governor Clinton, and remained in the State of New York. 

Dnring the Reign of Terror in France an immense number of its 
wealthier and more refined population fled to other countries. America 
became the favorite refuge for these emigres, and the city of New York 

* A dance, with singing, performed in tlie streets of Paris during tlie Revolution, 
f At a meeting of tlie Democratic Society in New York the following song, com- 
posed by Thelwall, an English Radical, was sung to the air of " God Save the King :" 

" God save the Guillotine ! 
Till England's King and Queen 

His power shall prove ; 
Till each anointed knob 
Affords a clipping job, 
Let no rude halter rob 

The Guillotine. 

"France, let thy trumpet sonnd— 
Tell all the world around 

How Capet fell ; 

And when Great George's poll 

Shall in the basket roll, 

Let mercy then control 

The Guillotine. 

" When all the sceptred crew 
Have paid their homage due 

The Gullotine, 
Let Freedom's flag advance 
Till all the world, like France, 
O'er tyrants' graves shall dance 

And peace begin !" 


was their principal resort. They produced a sensible effect upon society 
there. French fashions, French furniture, French manners and customs, 
and the French language became prevalent. Even when the emigrants 
were permitted to return liome after the downfall of Robespierre and 
they had left this country, their influence continued to be felt in social 
life in New York for many years. 

The disloyalty and insubordination of the Republican faction, inaugu- 
rated by the official acts of Genet, were conspicuously manifested the 
following year in the event known in our history as " The Whiskey 
Insurrection ;" and the violence of political antagonisms was as conspic- 
uously displayed in 1795, when the provisions of a treaty with Great 
Britain, which Mr. Jay had negotiated, were made known. That treaty 
was the result of an attempt on the part of the President to avert the 
calamities of war with Great Britain, which circumstances seemed to be 
engendering. The British Government had failed in complying with 
the treaty of peace of 1783, in giving up forts in the western country 
and in other matters. This event, on one side, and the hostile attitude 
toward Great Britain and partiality for France of the Republicans, on 
the other side, so menaced the peace between the two nations tliat 
Washington sent Jay on the righteous errand to secure tranquillity and 
justice. The Republicans opposed the mission as a cringing to Great 
Britain and an affront to France, and when it was known that the treaty 
liad not secured all that the United States demanded, and especially that 
it bound our Govermuent to a strict neutrality in all wars between Great 
Britain and other nations (the spirit of the proclamation of neutrality), 
there was a burst of indignation from the opposition which knew no 
bounds for a while. They used the most strenuous efforts to induce the 
President and Senate to refuse their ratification of the treaty. 

The first public demonstration in that direction was made in Boston. 
An anonymous handbill was distributed throughout New York, calling 
on the citizens to meet in front of the City Hall, in Wall Street, on July 
18th (1795), to join the Bostonians in expressing their opposition to the 
treaty. The meeting assembled. Aaron Burr, Chancellor Livingston, 
and Brockholst Livingston (the latter a brother-in-law of Jay, who had 
joined the Republican Party) were leaders of the opposition. The 
Federalists had gathered there in full force, and were led by Alexander 
Hamilton and Richard Varick.* They succeeded in electing a chairman 

* Richard Varick was a descendant of one of the earlier Dutch settlers of New York. 
He was born in Iluckensack, N. .7., in 1753, and died in New York City in July, 1831. 
When the war for independence broke out he was a young lawj'er in New York. He 
entered the military service, and was General Schuyler's military secretary until after the 



from among their number, and then proposed to adjourn. The Repub- 
licans objected. Tlien it was moved tliat the disposition of the treaty 
be left to the President and Senate. The question being taken, botli 
sides claimed the majority, when a scene of violence ensued. Hamilton, 
standing upon the elevated " stoop" of a Dutch house on the corner 
of Wall and Broad streets, attempted to speak in defence of the treaty, 
when he was stoned, dragged to tlie ground by the Republicans, and 
roughly handled in the street. A 
motion was made to appoint a 
committee of fifteen to report 
three days later. It was pro- 
nounced carried. Then the tumult 
increased. Some person in the 
crowd shouted : 

" All you who agree to adjourn 
to Bowling Green and burn the 
British treaty will say Aye." 

There was a tremendous affirma- 
tive response, and the excited op- 
position ran, shouting, to the 
Bowling Green, where a copy of 
the treaty was burned beneath the 
entwined folds of the American 
and French flags, while the car- 
magnole was performed. At the adjourned meeting, on the 21st, attended 
mostly by Republicans, a series of resolutions was adopted condemnatory 
of the treaty. The next day the Chamber of Commerce adopted counter 

Mr. Jay was violently abused. lie was denounced as a " traitor who 
had sold his country for British gold." In Charleston the populace 
trailed the British flag in the dust and burned it at the door of the British 
consul. Some of the more violent Republicans longed for the guil- 
lotine, while leaders in Virginia, ever ready with the panacea of dis- 

surrender of Burgoyne. He was inspector-general at West Point until after the treason 
of Arnold, when he became a member of Washington's military family, and was liis 
recording secretary imtil the close of the war. After the British evacuated the city of 
New York, in November, 1783, he was appointed recorder of that municipality, and held 
the office until 1789, when he became attorney-general of the State, and subsequently 
mayor of the city, which position he held until 1801. He had been associated with 
Samuel Jones in making a revision of the laws of the State (1786-88). In 1787 he was 
speaker of the Assembly. Colonel Varick was one of the founders of the American Bible 
Society and one of its most efficient members. 



union, offered their prescription in vehement language. The treaty was 
ratified in August, and the effervescence of passion soon ceased. 

These turbulent events in New York and elsewhere, and the support 
given them by the secret Democratic societies, caused Washington to 
denounce secret associations as dangerous to the public welfare. The 
Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, which had been formed at the 
beginning of his administration as a patriotic and benevolent institution, 
regarding itself as pointed at, and being largely composed of Republicans, 
or Democrats, was transformed into a political organization in opposition 
to the Federalists. It still exists, and plays an important part in the 
politics of the State of New York.* 

In his message to the Legislature, which convened at Poughkeepsie on 
January 6th, 1795, Governor Clinton reminded that body that while 
liberal provisions had been made for the endowment of colleges and 
other higher seminaries of learning, no legislative aid had yet been given 
to comtnon schools. He recommended that provisions be made for 
their encouragement and improvement. This was the first official move- 
ment in the State of New York for extending the fostering care of the 

* Tlie Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, was formed chiefly tlirough the exertions 
of William Mooney, an upholsterer in the city of New York, in May, 1789. Its first 
meeting was held on the 13th of that month, a fortnight after the inauguration of Wash- 
ington. It took its name from a great and good Delaware chief, who was supposed to 
have been one of those who made the famous treaty with William Penu. He was revered 
by the Delawares, and the early settlers called him " Saint Tammany," or Tamenand. 
He " loved Hberty better than life," it was asserted, and the new society professed the 
same. The officers consisted of a grand sachem and thirteen inferior sachems, represent- 
ing the President and the governors of the thirteen States in the Union. There was also 
a grand council, of which the sachems were members. It was patriotic in its influence 
and very popular, and its membership comprised many of the best men of New York. 
For reasons given in the text, Mooney and others adhered to the organization, but took 
part with Jefferson and the Democratic Party. They first met as a political organization 
at Martling's Long Room, at the south-east corner of Nassau and Spruce streets. 
They built a wigwam on the spot. The corner-stone of the hall was laid in May, 
1811, and the building was completed the following year. The venerable Jacob Barker, 
who died in Philadelphia in 1871, at the age of ninety-two years, was the last survivor ot 
the building committee. The certificate of membership of the reorganized Tammany 
Society bore a device of an arch composed of two cornucopias ; the supports, resting upon 
a solid stone arch composed of eighteen blocks, represented the seventeen States and one 
Territory then in the Union, that of Pennsylvania forming the keystone. Under the 
cornucopia arch are the words : 

" Civil Liberty the Glory of Man. This Sheweth a Link of that Bright and Lasting 
Chain of Patriotic Friendship which binds together 

The Sons op Tammany." 
Then follows the certiflcate, with the seal and signatiu-es of the grand sachem, sagamore, 
and sentry. 


commonwealth to these most important institutions — far more important 
to the welfare of the commonwealth than colleges and universities. 
The Legislature heeded the recommendation of the governor, and at 
that session passed a law appropriating annually for five years $50,000, 
and directed the specific sums to be paid by the State treasurer to each 
county. The act provided that the supervisors of the several counties 
sliould apportion the money among the respective towns, and a sum 
equal to one half the sum received from the State by the several towns 
was required to be raised by a tax in such towns and added to the bounty 
of the State. The sum thus made up was to be distributed in each 
school district, under the direction of the town commissioners. 

A Literature Fund was created by the operation of an act passed in 
April, 1801, which authorized four lotteries, for the purpose of raising 
$100,000 for the joint benefit of colleges, academies, and common 
schools, but chiefly for the latter. This fund has been increased from 
various sources from time to time. It was managed by the regents of 
the University until 1832, when it was transferred to the comptroller for 
investment, the Legislature appropriating the proceeds annually. 

The State of New York has been and continues to be very liberal in 
its provisions for popular education. During the closing year of the 
first century of tlie Republic (1875) the expenditure from the public 
treasury of the State for educational purposes amounted to about 
$11,364,000, of wliicli amount about $2,960,000 were the proceeds of a 
direct tax of 1^ mills for common schools.* 

* There was no general system of primary education in the State of New York before 
the Revolutionary War. The schools were chiefly of a private character, and education 
was confined largely to the wealthier classes. In 1789 an act was passed appropriating 
certain portions of the public lands for gospel and school purposes. The regents of the 
University in 1793 recommended the establishment of a general system of common 
schools, and this led to the recommendation of Governor Clinton in his message mentioned 
in the text. In the spring of 1801 Judge Peck, of Otsego County, then a member of the 
Legislature, introduced a bill which by its provisions created the Literature Fund 
mentioned in the text. 

The great benefits of the common-school system were immediately apparent, and 
successive governors recommended the passage of new laws for the encouragement and 
support of common schools. Nothing definite was accomplished until 1811, when five 
commissioners were appointed to report a complete system for the organization and estab- 
lishment of common schools. In 1812 the Legislature passed a bill in accordance with 
their report, under which Gideon Hawley was appointed State Superintendent of Common 
Schools. The office was abolished in 1821, and his duties were assigned to the department 
of the Secretary of State. In 1835 teachers' departments in academies, one in cacli sena- 
torial district — a sort of normal school — were authorized. In 1838 the school district 
library system was established, and in 1841 the office of deputy superintendent was 
created — in other words, county superintendent ; and in 1843 the Board of Town 


The Board of Regents of tlie State of New York alluded to was estab- 
lished in 1784, when the name of King's College was changed to Co- 
lumbia College, and that inetitution was to be made the centre of a 
devised extensive system of education. Subordinate branches were to 
be established in different parts of the State, the whole to be under the 
control of the regents. The board was to be composed of the principal 
State officers — two persons from each county, and one chosen by each 
religious denomination. The number of the regents was afterward 
increased by adding thirty-three others, twenty of whom were to reside 
in the city of New York, TJic authorship of this scheme is attributed 
to Alexander Hamilton, then in the Assembly, assisted by Ezra 
L'Hommedieu,'* then in the Senate, It was found to be impracticable, 
and by an act passed in April, 1787, it was superseded by a system which 
has continued, with slight modifications, until the present time. The 
officers of the board are a chancellor, vice-chancellor, and secretary. 
They have the general supervision of all the educational institutions 
of the State and the distribution of a portion of the Literature Fund. 
They appoint the librarian and assistants of the State Library and 
a curator of tlie State Cabinet. Six members form a quorum for the 
transaction of business. 

Both Governor Clinton and Lieutenant-Governor van Cortlandt de- 
clined to be a candidate for re-election in the spring of 1795. It was 

Inspectors and School Commissioners was abolished and the office of town superintendent 
was substituted. In 1847 a State normal school was established at Albany for the 
instruction of teachers. In the same year the office of county superintendent was abol- 
ished, and teachers' institutes were legal!}' established. 

By act of the Legislature in the spring of 1849 free schools were established through- 
out the State, and tlie condition of the rate-bill system was abolished. It was soon found 
not to work well in practice. The law was repealed in 1851, and the rate-bill system 
was restored. In 1853 Union free schools were permitted under certain conditions. 

In the spring of 1854 the office of superintendent of public instruction was created — a 
virtual restoration of the office filled by Gideon Hawley from 1813 to 1821. In 1855 the 
regents of the University were authorized to designate certain academies in the several 
counties in wliich teacliers' classes might be tauglit free, allowing $10 for each pupil so 
taught, to a number not exceeding twenty in each academy. The office of school commis- 
sioner was created in 1856— really a reinstatement of the office of county suix-rintendent. 

* EzraL'IIommedieu Avas born at Southold, Long Island, N. Y., in August, 1734, and 
diedtlierein September, 1811. He was of a Huguenot family from Rochelle, France. 
Ezra was a lawyer, an active patriot, and a member of the New York Provincial Con- 
gress, 1775-78. He assisted in framing the first State Constitution, and was for many 
years a member of the Continental Congress. He was also a State senator from 1784 
until 1809. He had been a member of the State A.ssembly from 1777 to 1783. Once he 
was a member of the Council of Appointment, and he was a regent of the University 
from 1787 until his deatli. In politico he avivs a Federalist. 


evident that tlie horrors of the French Revohition had largely diminished 
the number of American sj'mpathizers with the cause of the French 
Eepublicans, and there seemed little doubt that the Federalists were 
about to assume political control of the State. Clinton had been gov- 
ernor, by successive re-elections, since 1777, and had served the public 
with ability and faithfulness. The Federalists nominated John Jay for 
the exalted station. He w^as then in England, but was elected bj a 
large majority, with Stephen van Rensselaer (the patroon) as lieutenant- 
governor. The Federalists also secured a majority in both branches of 
the Legislature. 

None but freeholders — men in possession of property of a prescribed 
character and value — were then allowed to vote. There were about 
36,000 freeholders in the State. Of these, 25,373 cast their votes at that 
election. The Avestern portion of the State had rapidly increased in 
population. New counties had been organized. Forty-four senators 
nad to be chosen — a score more than in 1777. Seventeen of the new 
senators were chosen from the western district. 

At the first session in Governor Jay's administration a bill was intro- 
duced for the gradual abolition of slavery in the State of New York, a 
measure in which the governor felt deeply interested. After a long 
debate the bill was rejected in the Assembly by the casting vote of the 
chairman of the Committee of the Whole. The vote stood 82 to 31. 

The Federalists continued to increase in numerical strength, but in the 
presidential canvass in 1796 (Washington having declined to be a candi- 
date) there was a division in the Federal Party as to their candidate. 
John Adams and Thomas Pinckney were nominated b}' the Federalists, 
and Thomas Jefferson by the Republicans. The State of New York 
gave Adams its twelve votes in the Electoral College, He w'as elected 
President, with Mr. Jefferson as Yice-President.* 

The twentieth session of the Legislature convened at New York on 
November 1st, and sat till November 11th. A second meeting began at 
Albany on January 2d, 1797, and from that time until now that city 
has been the political capital of the State. During this session the office 
of comptroller was first created. The law made him the highest financial 

* Under the Constitution as originally adopted the candidates for President and Vice- 
President were voted for in the Electoral College of each State, without designating 
which the elector intended for the first and which for the second office. Lists of these 
were transmitted to the seat of Government, and the candidate having the greatest 
number of votes (of a majority of the whole) became President, and the one having the 
next greatest number Vice-President. The Twelfth Amendment of the Constitution 
changed the mode of voting for the two oflicers, the electors being required to vote by 
separate ballots for President and Vice-President. 


officer of tlie State, and the treasurer merely a clerk to him. Samuel 
Jones, a member of the Senate, was appointed by the Council of 
Appointment the first comptroller of the State of New York. 

On February 6th, 1796, there was a notable celebration at New York 
by the Eepublicans and the many French temporary residents of that 
city, of the nineteenth anniversary of the treaty of alliance between 
France and the United States. There were a banquet, speeches, and 
toasts. Chancellor Livingston offered the sentiment : 

" May the present coolness between France and America produce, 
like the quarrels of lovers, a renewal of love." 

The chancellor had been an ardent Federalist, but, with others of the 
Livingston family, had become an Anti-Federalist in 1790, because, it 
was said, of his opposition to the views of Colonel Hamilton contained 
in the famous report of the latter as Secretary of the Treasury, and es- 
pecially those in relation to the funding of the national debt. The 
change was attributed also by his political antagonists to his disappoint- 
ment in not having been made Chief Justice of the United States. 

The coolness between France and the United States alluded to by 
Livingston continued to increase until, during the administration of John 
Adams, both nations prej)ared for war, and hostilities upon the ocean 
actually occurred ; yet neither party made a declaration of war. Bona- 
parte overturned the republican government of France in 1799, and in 
the earlier portion of the opening year of the nineteenth century there 
was i^eace and friendship between France and the United States. 

The Republican Party had been making desperate efforts to maintain 
its ascendency. A wide breach in the Federal Party promised it success 
in the spring of 1799, but a dishonorable transaction of Colonel Aaron 
Burr, who was at the head of the Republican ticket in New York City, 
caused its defeat. The stock of the Bank of New York, chartered in 
1791 — the first bank established in the State — happened to be chiefly 
owned by Federalists. After the election of Adams to the presidency, 
in 1797, party spirit was nowhere so violent as in the State of New York. 
Suspicion was on the alert. The Republicans suspected the Federalists 
of using the funds of the bank for partisan purposes, and they deter- 
mined to procure a charter for another bank that should be under 
Republican control. As the majority of the members of the Legislature 
were Federalists, they saw the necessity of adroit management to obtain 
a charter. This was left to Colonel Burr, who was equal to the occasion. *^ 

* Aaron Burr was born at Newark, N. J., February 6th, 1756 ; died on Staten Island, 
N. Y., SeptemlK?r 14th, 1836. At the age of nineteen yeai-s lie entered the Continental 
army at Cambridge as a private soldier, and accompanied Arnold in his expedition 



The yellow-fever had devastated the city of New York in 1798. Its 
general prevalence was attributed to the use of unwholesome water. 
Colonel Bnrr originated a scheme ostensibly for the cure of the evil. 
He drew up and presented to the Legislature a bill for the chartering of 
a company for " supplying tlie city of New York with pure and whole- 
some water." As the amount of the capital which might be needed was 
uncertain, he asked for authority 
to raise $2,000,000. As that sum 
would probably not be absorbed in 
the construction of the water- works, 
he asked for a provision that the 
" surplus capital might be employ- 
ed in any way not inconsistent with 
the laws and Constitution of the 
United States or of the State of 
New York." This request ap- 
peared reasonable. Under the 
authority of these few words the 
Manhattan Company, as the cor- 
poration was called, was given 
banking privileges — really the chief 
object to be attained by the charter. 
The bill was rushed through the 
Legislature at near the close of the 
session, the greater number of the 

members having no suspicion that they were chartering a powerful 

control of Burr and other Republican 

of the Manhattan Bank in the city of 

Water- works were established by the 


banking institution 

under the 
leaders. Such was the origin 
New York, which still exists. 

corporation, but were inadequate for the promised service. This trick 

through the Wilderness to Quebec. On the way he was sent with despatches to General 
Montgomery, and joined Arnold at the siege of Quebec. In the spring of 1776 Burr 
joined Washington's military family, but soon left it, and in 1779 retired from military 
life and became a lawyer and an active politician. He was twice a member of the New 
York Legislature (1784, 1798). He was adjutant-genera! of the State in 1789, and United 
States senator from 1791 to 1797. In 1801 he was chosen Vice-President of the United 
States. In 1804 he was ruined politically and socially by his slaying of Alexander Ham- 
ilton in a duel. In 1805-1806 Burr was engaged in a supposed treasonable scheme in the 
Mississippi Valley, and was tried and acquitted—" not proven." He lived abroad several 
years, returning to New York in 1813, where he resumed the practice of the law, living 
in obscurity and comparative poverty. In 1834 he married a wealthy widow of a 
Frenchman, but they soon parted. 


produced widespread indignation, and, as we have observed, caused the 
defeat of the Repubh"cans in the city and tliroughout the States. 

A young man, notable for tiie dignity of his personal presence, 
appeared on the stage of political action as a member of the Assembly 
in 1797, who afterward became a leading figure in the history of New 
York. He was De Witt Clinton, son of General James Clinton, a 
graduate of Columbia College, and having the reputation of high scho- 
lastic attainments, and then twenty-eight years of age. He had been the 
private secretary of his uncle, the governor, and had already engaged, 
with his pen, in political discussions. It was hoped that he would join 
the Federal Party ; but he did not. He was a conspicuous Kepublican 
leader until the " era of good feeling" — the period of the dissolution of 
the two great parties— during Monroe's administration. We shall meet 
him very frequently hereafter. He took an active part in New York in 
the presidential canvass of 1800, which resulted in the triumph of the 
Republicans in the State and nation. Jefferson and Burr were rival 
candidates nominated by the Republicans, and John Adams was the Fed- 
eralist candidate for re-election. Jefferson and Burr having an equal 
number of votes, the choice was made by the House of Representatives. 
It was given to Jefferson, and Burr became Yice-President. A jubilant 
Democratic rhymer of the day wrote : 

" The Federalists are down at last ! 
The Monarchists completely cast ! 
The Autocrats are stripped of power — 
Storms o'er the British factions lower. 
Soon we Republicans shall see 
Columbia's sons from bondage free. 
Lord ! how the Federalists will stare 
At Jefferson in Adams' chair !" 

From that time the Republicans were generally called " Democrats," 
and so we will designate them hereafter. 

Washington had died at near the close of the previous year (December 
14th, 1799). The event cast a gloom over the whole country, for he 
was beloved by the nation. Tlie asperity with which he had been 
assailed by political antagonists had already been transformed into pro- 
found respect and reverence. His death was felt as a national calamity 
— an irreparable loss. It was especially so to the Federalists, with whom 
he was identified, for his name was a tower of strength. After his 
death the party was weakened by factions. The most imposing funeral 
honors were paid to the memory of Washington everywhere. In the 
city of New York particularly all parties joined in expressions of pro- 
found and tender regard. 



At the beginning of this century tlie population of the State of ^N^ew 
York was 589,000, and of the city of New York, its commercial metrop- 
olis, it was 60,000. The decidedly Dutch aspect of the city in architec- 
ture and social manners had almost disappeared. The houses, the furni- 
ture, the amusements, and the dress of the people were imitations of 
English life. To London the ladies and gentlemen looked for fashions, 
and even in the Dutch Reformed churches the language of Holland was 
now seldom heard in the pulpit. Kew York was a complete trans- 
formation of New Amsterdam. 

That metropolis, now (1887) numbering, with its suburban munici- 
palities, fully 2,500,000 inhabitants, was then only a large village in com- 
parison. Its northern boundary on the west was Harrison Street, some 
distance below Canal Street ; on the east, Rutgers Street, and at the 
centre by Anthony (now Worth) Street. North of there, and extending 
from river to river over a hilly country, were fields and orchards, farm- 
houses and pretty country-seats. Broadway, which crossed by a stone 
arched bridge the little sluggish stream that passed between the Fresh 
Water Pond (where the Tombs, or Halls of Justice, now stands) and the 
Hudson River, through Lispenard's oozy meadows on the line of Canal 
Street, was terminated by a picket- fence across the road at Astor Place. 
That was the southern boundary of the farm of Captain Randall, the 
founder of the Sailors' Snug Harbor, wlio gave it for an endowment 
for that institution. From near this point the Boston Road led, by 
a crooked Avay, to Harlem, which had been founded by the early Dutch 
settlers. There Dutch farmers were seated, and on Harlem Plains they 
raised vejxetables for the traders at New Amsterdam. The Middle 
Road, beginning at the Randall farm, also extended to Harlem by a 
devious way, to avoid rocks and morasses, and the King's Bridge, or 
Bloomingdale Road, extended by present Central Park and Manhat- 
tanville to the famous bridge which spanned Spuyten Duyvil Creek, It 
was the beginning of the post road to Albany. 

On the site of Washington Square, a portion of which was a swamp, 
was the new Potter's Field, a burial-place for paupers and strangers. 
The Jews' burial-ground was near Chatham Square, and the negro burial- 
ground was at the north-east corner of Broadway and Chambers Street, 



Burial-grounds were also attached to the several churches. Burials below 
Canal Street were prohibited in 1813. 

There were two little villages on the Hudson liiver (Greenwich and 


Chelsea), not far north of the city proper. At Greenwich was the 
States Prison, a strong stone building. It was the second States prison 
built ill the United States. At the foot of Park Place was Columbia 



College ; and on Broadway, between Pearl and Diiane streets, was the 
J^ew York Hospital, chartered in 1771. The only medical school in 
the city was tlie Medical Faculty of 
Columbia College. 

The benevolent institutions were 
the Chamber of Commerce ; * the 
Marine Society, for the benefit of the 
families of seamen ; the Humane 
Society, for the relief of distressed 
debtors and of the poor in general ; 
the Manumission Society, composed 
chiefly of Friends, or Quakers, de- 
signed for the amelioration of the 
condition of the slaves and the ac- 
complishment of their freedom ulti- 
mately ; the Sailors' Snug Harbor, 
for the comfort of decrepit and worn- 
out seamen ; the General Society of 
Mechanics and Tradesmen, for the 

benefit and relief of the families of necessitous members ; the Society of 
the Cincinnati ; the Tammany Society, already mentioned ; a Dispensary, 


* This most useful organization was formed in 1768 at the Queen's Head Tavei-n, 
afterward Fraunce's Tavern, where Washington parted with liis officers, and yet stand- 
ing, at the corner of Pearl and Broad streets. It was founded by twenty leading mer- 
chants, some of whom afterward appeared conspicuous in public affairs. They avowed 
the purpose of the association to be " promoting and extending all just and lawful 
commerce, and for affording relief to decayed members, their widows and children." It 
was incorporated in March, 1770. The following are the names of the original members : 
John Cruger, Elias Desbrosses, James Jauncey, Jacob Walton, Robert Murray, Hugh 
Wallace, George Folliot, William Walton, Samuel Verplanck, Theophylact Bache, 
Thomas White, Miles Sherbrook, Walter Franklin, Robert Ross Waddel, Acheron 
Thompson, Laurence Kortright, Thomas Randell, William McAdam, Isaac Low, and 
Anthony van Dam. John Cruger was the first president. Robert Murray and Walter 
Franklin represented the Quaker element in the commercial features of New York. Its 
sittings were interrupted when the British took possession of the city in 1776, but in 1779 
the Tory members who remained in the city met at the Merchants' Coffee-IIouse, corner 
of Wall and Water streets, and renewed the sessions. It was rechartered by the State 
Legislature in 1784, and its first president was John Alsop. The Waltons were among 
the most eminent and opulent merchants of the city. The Walton House, on Franklin 
Square, was long the most magnificent dwelling in the city of New York. It is now 
devoted to the uses of various kinds of business. It is opposite the publishing house of 
Harper & Brothers. 

\ John Cruger was mayor of the city of New York when the Chamber of Commerce 
was founded, and the next year (1765) was speaker of the Assembly from 1769 to 1775. 
During the perilous time just preceding the outbreak of the Revolution his influence was 


on Tryon Row, not far from the site of the (present) City Hall ; the St. 
Andrew's Society, and several Masonic Lodges. 

There were twenty-six churches in the city — namely, 3 Dutch He- 
formed, 1 German Reformed, 7 Protestant Episcopal, 1 Lutheran, 
5 Presbyterian, 2 Baptist, 3 Methodist, 1 Moravian, 1 Friends' Meet- 
ing-House, 1 Roman Catholic, and 1 Jews' Synagogue. The only 
public library in the city was the Society Library, founded in 1754. The 
Post-Office was kept in a room of the dwelling of the postmaster (Gen- 
eral Bailey), on the corner of William and Garden streets, and contained 
one hundred boxes. There was only one theatre in the city. The 
Manhattan Water Company had a distributing reservoir on Chambers 
Street, then quite " out of town." 

The most noted of the country-seats on Manhattan Island were those of 
Roger Morris, on Harlem Heights ; of Robert Murray, on the Incht)erg 
(now Murray Hill) ; the Apthorp Mansion, on the Bloomingdale Road ; 
"The Grange," Hamilton's residence near Carmansville, yet (1887) 
standing, and of Richmond Hill, at the junction of Charlton and Varick 
streets, then the residence of Colonel Aaron Burr. 

Such is an outline picture of the city of New York less than one 
hundred years ago. 

The State Constitution made no provisions for its own alteration or 
amendment. A necessity for an amendment appeared at the beginning 
of this century. In accordance with its provisions, the members of the 
Legislature, and particularly of the Senate, were increasing in numbers 
to a degree that was already inconvenient. Governor Jay, in his speech 
at the opening of the session of the Legislature, in Januar}', 1801, called 
the attention of that body to the subject. Having no legal power under 
the Constitution to order a convention, to consider amendments, they 
recommended such a convention, to consist of delegates from the several 
counties, equal in number to the members of the Assembly. It Wiis 
done. The delegates were chosen in August, and assembled at Albany 
on October 13th. x'Varon Burr was chosen President of the con- 
vention. It remained in session until the 27th, and adopted, by unani- 
mous vote, an amendment proposed by De Witt Clinton, which provided 
that the number of the members of the AsscTnbly should never exceed 
one hundred and fifty, and of the Senate, thirty-two. At that time 

powerful ill miiintuinins? public order among the citizens of New York. He was an 
active member of the Stamp Act Congre.s.s in 1765, and prepared its famous Declaration 
of Right.s. He was also a prominent member of the New York Provincial Congress, 
1775. Mr. Cruger left the city before the British took possession of it in 1776. He died 
in New York City in 1791-92, at the age of eighty years. 


there were one hundred assemblymen. An amendment was adopted 
requiring an increase of assemblymen, at the rate of two each year — 
after the return of every census — until the whole number should amount 
to one hundred and fifty. The people ratified the amendments. 

The Democrats now held the political ascendancy in the State and the 
nation. Ex- Governor George Clinton was elected Governor of New 
York, and in February, 1802, his nephew, De Witt Clinton, was chosen 
to fill the place of General Armstrong (who had resigned) in the Senate 
of the United States. Clinton was then about thirty- three years of age. 
He was also a member of the Council of Appointment, and was regarded 
as one of the ablest of the younger public men of the State. 

Colonel Burr, the Clintons, and the Livingstons were then the ac- 
knowledged leaders of the Democratic Party in the State ; but Burr's 
popularity had. already begun to wane. His ambition had impelled him 
to acts which rendered him an object of suspicion and tlie animadver- 
sions of leading members of his party. Tiie Clintons and the Livingstons 
disowned him as a Democrat, and on the distribution of the great ofiices 
of the State by the Council of Appointment not one of Burr's friends 
received a place. 

The Democratic Council of Appointment divided the offices among 
the two leading families in the State — the Clintons and the Livingstons 
— and their immediate friends. Edward Livingston was created Mayor 
of New York City. The Secretary of State was removed in order to 
make a place for Dr. Tillottson, a brother-in-law of Chancellor Living- 
ston. Morgan Lewis, another brother-in-law, was made Chief- Justice 
of the State Supreme Court ; General Armstrong, another brother-in- 
law of the chancellor, was appointed United States Senator. Brockholst 
Livingston and Smith Thompson (the latter married a Livingston) were 
created Judges of the Supreme Court. These persons, connected with 
the Livingston family by marriage or otherwise, were all able men. 
Governor (]!linton had declared, on taking office again, that the heads of 
State Departments especially and the incumbents of minor offices 
should be men in political accord with the majority of the voters who 
appeared at the poles. This was a mild expression of the political maxim 
enunciated long j'ears afterward — " To the victors belong the spoils." 

Chancellor Livingston having been disqualified by age to hold the 
office of chancellor longer. Judge John Lansing succeeded him, and 
Mr. Livingston was appointed by President Jefferson Minister at the 
Court of the First Consul of France, where he negotiated the purchase 
from that power of the immense territory known as Louisiana, for 


Ill the summer of 1802 a most bitter political and personal trarfare 
was waged between Colonel Burr and bis partisans, and the Clintons and 
Livingstons and their adherents. The latter established a newspaper, 
called the American Citizen, as the organ of the Democratic Party, 
which was under the control of De Witt Clinttm. It bitterly charged 
Burr with treason to the Democratic cause, and also with intriguing with 
the Federalists to prevent the election of Jefferson, in order to secure 
for himself the presidential chair. An Englishman named Cheatham 
was the editor-in-chief. To meet this formidable opponent in battle, 
Colonel Burr and his friends established the Morning Chronicle, edited 
by Peter Irving, an elder brother of Washington Irving. 

The Chronicle carried the war into the camp of the Clintons and Liv- 
ingstons with great vigor. It charged them with inordinate personal 
ambition ; with endeavoring to exercise dictatorial power over the Dem- 
ocratic Party, and appropriating to themselves the spoils of the political 
victories. It affirmed that they were jealous of Burr, and wished to get 
rid of him, because he was an obstacle in the way of their efforts to 
place a memljer of one of their families in the exalted position (Vice- 
President of the United States) then filled by the colonel, and ulti- 
mately in the principal chair. So heated did the controversy become, 
that the two sections of the Democratic Party became personally hostile. 

Burr's opponents managed to gain control of the Manhattan Bank 
(already mentioned), and wielded its power against him and his friends. 
Colonel John Swartwout, one of Burr's most devoted partisans, was 
turned out of the direction of the bank. Though his private character 
was unimpeachable, De Witt Clinton — who was too apt to speak of every 
man who opposed him as a knave or a fool — spoke of Swartwout as a 
'' liar, a swindler, and a villain." Sw^artwout challenged Clinton. A 
duel ensued. Five shots were exchanged. Nobody was hurt. Richard 
Riker, afterward the famous Recorder of the city of New York, was 
Clinton's second and warm personal friend. He so vigorously defended 
Clinton, through the press, that a brother of Swartwout challenged 

In a duel that ensued, Riker was so severely wounded that he was 
lamed for life.* 

* Richard Riker was long a conspicuous figure in official life in New York. He was 
born on Long Island in September, 177;i upon land ceded to his ancestor, Geysbert Riker, 
in 1630. His father was an active patriot of tlie Revolution of 1775-83. When quite a 
young man Richard was made Attorney-General of the State of New York. He was 
first chosen Recorder of the city in 1815. He was again chosen in 1821 and 1834, 
serving fourteen years successively in his hist term. He died in October, 1842. Mr. 


Cheatham published a pamphlet against Burr, and William P. Van 
Ness (Burr's second in his duel with Hamilton) published in the same 
form, over the signature of " Aristides," a most violent attack upon the 
character of tlie whole Livingston family. He also attacked De Witt 
Clinton and Ambrose Spencer with special severity. 

In forming a judgment concerning this virulent controversy, it may 
be well to remember the words of Lady Betty Germain — " 1 have lived 
long enough never wholly to believe any side or party against the other." 

Tills schism in the Democratic Party in the State vexed the leaders a 
long time. Colonel Burr lost the confidence of his party not only at 
home, but at the national capital ; but the continually increasing majori- 
ties of the party at every election inspired his friends with hope. They 
resolved to bring out Burr as a Democratic candidate for Governor of 
New York against any regular nominee of the party. In February, 1804, 
his friends in the Legislature held a meeting at Albany, and formally 
nominated him. A meeting in New York City ratified it. There being 
no chance for the election of a Federalist, leaders of that party proposed 
to take np Burr as their candidate, so as to defeat the Democrats by the 

At a private meeting of Federalists for consultation, held at Albany a 
few evenings after Burr's nomination, General Alexander Hamilton, 
then on legal business at Albany, took a conspicuous part. He advo- 
cated voting for Chancellor Lansing, in case they had no candidate of 
their own, declaring that no reliance ought to be placed on Colonel 
Burr. He repeated his declaration in substance at a private dinner-table. 
One of the guests on that occasion (Dr. Cooper), in a letter to a friend, 
repeated the substance of Hamilton's remarks in such a careless use of 
words that they conveyed the erroneous impression that they impeached 
the private character of Burr. He wrote that both Hamilton and Judge 
Kent* looked upon Burr as a dangerous man, and one who ought not to 

Riker was one of the most notable of the recorders of the city — efficient, amiable, just, 
and beloved by everybody. Fitz-Greene Halleck wrote : 

" My Dear Recorder, you and I 

Have floated down life's stream together, 
And kept unharmed our friendship's tie 
Through every change in Fortune's sky, 
Her pleasant and her rainy weather." 

* James Kent was born in Putnam (then a part of Duchess) County in July, 1763. 
He was graduated at Yale College ; became a lawyer and a profound jurist ; in politics 
he was a Federalist, and in 1791 made New York City his residence, where he formed an 
intimate friendship with Colonel Hamilton. He became a judge of the Supreme Court 
of New York in 1798 and chief justice in 1804. In 1814 he became chancellor, retired 



be trusted with the reins of government, and added : " I could detail to 
jou a still more despicable opinion which General Hamilton has ex- 
pressed of Burr." This letter was shown to many politicians before the 
election, which took place in April, and soon after that event it found 
its way into the newspapers. Many Federalists voted for Burr, but he 
was defeated by a large majority of votes given to Morgan Lewis,* the 

regular nominee of the party. He 
attributed his failure to gain the 
prize to the adverse influence of 
Hamilton. When he saw Cooper's 
letter in the newspapers his indig- 
nation knew no bounds. He at 
once wrote a note to Hamilton 
(June 18th, 1804), demanding a 
" prompt and unqualified ackuowl- 
edgment or denial of the use of any 
expression which would warrant the 
assertions of Mr. Cooper." An 
unsatisfactory correspondence en- 
sued. Burr finally challenged 
Hamilton to fight a duel. The lat- 
ter did all in the i30wer of an 
honorable man to avoid a personal 
rencontre. Burr was persistent. Yielding to the then prevailing public 
opinion about the miscalled code of honor, Hamilton, in violation of his 
moral and religious convictious, felt compelled to accept the challenge. 
His son Philip was killed in a duel not long before. 

On the morning of July 11th, 1804, the belligerents crossed the 
Hudson in boats to the duelling-ground at Weehawken, with their 


from the office in 1833, and became law professor in Columbia College the second time. 
His Commentaries on American Law, four volumes, is a standard work. He died in 
New York in December, 1847. 

* Morgan Lewis was born in New York City in October, 1754, and died there in April. 
1844. He was a son of Francis Lewis, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He 
was educated at Princeton ; studied law with John Jay ; entered the Continental army at 
Cambridge in June, 1775, and was a gallant soldier, serving faitlifuUy until 1780, when 
he left the army, having been promoted to colonel on the staff of General Gates. He 
began the practice of law in Duchess County, N. Y. ; married a sister of Chancellor 
Livingston : became a judge ; attorney-general of the State in 1791 ; justice; of the State 
Supreme Court and chief justice in 1801. He was Governor of the State in 1804 ; was 
made quartermaster-general with the rank of brigadier in 1813, and major-general in 
1813. He .served well during the war. Late in life he devoted himself to literature and 
agriculture. In 1835 he was president of the New York Historical Society. 


respective seconds — Mr. Van Ness with Burr, Mr. Pendleton with 
Hamilton. The chosen weapons were pistols. At the given word, 
Burr took deliberate aim and gave his antagonist a fatal wound. The 
latter did not fire at Burr. The wounded statesman was taken across 
the river to the home of his friend, Colonel Bayard, at Greenwich, 
where he died in the afternoon of the following day. The Federal Party 
in New York thus lost its most efficient leader, and the nation was de- 
prived of a mighty pillar of support. The remains of Hamilton rest in 
Trinity Churchyard, near Broadway, 

The death of Hamilton at the hand of Burr created the most intense 
excitement among all classes of societ}', first in the city of New York 
and then throughout the Hepiiblic. It was regarded as a deliberate 
murder. The recollection of Hamilton's past services, his transcendent 
abilities, his marvellous powers for usefulness as a citizen, caused uni- 
versal mourning among his countrymen. Even his political enemies 
dropped a tear of sensibility. 

At the moment when Hamilton fell Burr became politically dead. 
He fled from righteous wrath, and became a fugitive. At length he 
ventured to engage in some mysterious scheme — treasonable it was 
believed — for his own aggrandizement. He was arrested, and tried on a 
charge of treason, but escaped conviction. It was virtually a Scotch 
verdict — " Not proven," He lived thirty years afterward in obscurity. 

At near the close of the last century a National Military Academy 
was founded at West Point, among the Hudson Highlands, with pupils 
composed of cadets attached to corps of artillerists and engineers then 
stationed there for the purpose. Its first commander, or superintend- 
ent, was Major Jonathan Williams. The institution rapidly grew in the 
number of the pupils and in tangible usefulness. The Academy was 
reorganized in 1812, when the. number of cadets was limited to two 
hundred and sixty. Then the broad foundation upon which the institu- 
tion now rests was laid. The first graduate of this military academy 
was the late General Joseph G. Swift, under whose directions the forti- 
fications on and around New York or Manhattan Island were constructed 
during the War of 1812-15, 

The election of Judge Lewis Governor of the State of New York left 
the office of Chief- Justice of the Supreme Court vacant, James Kent 
M-as soon afterward appointed to till the seat, and Daniel D, Tompkins 
was created Associate Justice, Mr. Jefferson was re-elected in the 
autumn of 1804, with George Clinton as Yice -President. 

In a special message in January, 1805, Governor Lewis urged the ap- 
plication of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands of the State (one 



million five hundred thousand acres) to the improvement and elevation of 
the common schools. The Legislature made an appropriation of five 
hundred thousand acres for that purpose, and thus was laid the foundation 
for a permanent school fund. At the same session the Society for 
Establishing a Free School in the city of New York, for the education 
of destitute children, was incorporated. De "Witt Clinton, the first 
signer to the petition for the incorporation, was made its first president. 
It was the legitimate offspring of the Female Association for the Relief 
of the Poor, founded in 1802 by benevolent women of the Society of 
Friends. They opened a school for the free education of white girls. 

Its influence rapidly extended, and 
at one time it had several large 
elementary schools. 

The first school of the Society 
for Establishing a Free School was 
opened on Madison Street, in May, 
1806. Colonel Henry Rutgers 
soon afterward gave land on Henry 
Street as a site for a school-house. 
The jjupils increased so rapidly 
that other buildings were provided. 
The Legislature, Trinity Church, 
and the Municipal Corporation gave 
the society pecuniary aid. In 1808 
the name of the society was changed 
to Free School Society of the City 
of New York ; and late in 1809 a 
school was opened in the old arsenal building,* on Chambers Street, as 
" Public School No. 1." It was held in a room large enough to accom- 
modate fully five hundred children. It was agreed that the children in the 
Almshouse should be taught there. At the opening of the school, De 
Witt Clinton pronounced a memorable address, which was spoken of 
nearly fifty years afterward in a Public School Report, as " sowing the 
seed-wheat of all the harvests of education which subse(|uent years have 
gathered into our garners." 

In the State of New York one of the most important achievements in 


* This was a bii(;k buildiiij,' on Chambers Street and Tryon Row. The city corpora- 
tion appropriated )|>15()0 for the remodelling of the building inside and out, for the pur 
pose of a school. Among the most conspicuous working memlwrs of the society at that 
time wa.s De Witt Clinton, Thomas Eddy, Samuel Wood. Thomas Brown, John Griscom, 
Joseph Curtis, Charles Wilkes, Cadwallader D. Colden, and Dr. .John W. Francis. 


tlie history of human progress was accomplished in 1807, in tlie per- 
manent establishment of steam-navigation. Some feeble attempts to ac- 
complish this end had been made before in Europe. Robert Fulton,* 
an American citizen, a professional portrait-painter, had lived some 
years in Paris, had travelled in Great Britain, and had studied the sub- 
ject and made some experiments. 

In Paris he had interested Chancellor Livingston in steam-navigation 
projects, and on his re- 
turn home, in 1806, 
Fulton, in conjunction 
with Livingston, built 
a steamboat far up the 
Hudson Kiver, and 
named it the Clermont. 
She was one hundred 
and thirtv feet lonff, 
sixteen feet wide, and 
was one hundred and 
sixty tons burden. She 
was furnished with a 
Watts tfe Boulton steam- 

On the morning of August Tth, 1807, the Clermont started from New 
York City on a trial-trip to Albany, one hundred and fifty miles. It 
was successful, and was accomplished in thirty-six hours, against wind 
and tide. Steam-navigation was now no longer an experiment ; it was 
a demonstration. On September 1st the Clermont began regular trips 
over that route. Livingston had obtained from the Legislature the 
exclusive right of steam-navigation on the Hudson for twenty years. In 


* Robert Fulton was born in Lancaster County, Penn., in 1765. lie was of Irish 
descent ; died in New York City February 21st, 1815. He became a skilful painter of 
miniature portraits in Philadelphia, and went to England to study under Benjamin West. 
He there made himself familiar with the steam-engine, then just improved by Watt, and 
turned his attention to invention. He was seven years an inmate of Joel Barlow's house 
in Paris, studying languages and science and considering inventions. One of these was a 
torpedo for use in naval warfare. He unsuccessfully offered his invention to the French 
and English governments. He became acquainted in Paris with Robert R. Livingston, 
and was aided by him pecuniarily in perfecting his invention for navigation by steam. 
Fulton returned to New York in 1806, and with Livingston built a boat, which was 
successfully propelled by steam between New York and Albany in 1807. He could not 
induce his Government to adopt his torpedo. He built steam ferry-boats, and in 1814 the 
Government appointed him to superintend one or more floating batteries. He built a war 
steamer (the first ever constructed), which after his death was named Fulton the First. 


less than six years from the exploit of the Clennont there were six steam- 
boats navigating the Hudson, or North Eiver, as it was then usually 

Froiri the port of New York went out the Savannah, in 1819, the 
iirst steam-vessel that crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Europe ; but the 
rei^ular navigation of the sea was postponed until the summer of 1838, 
when the Great Westei'n steamship crossed from Bristol and entered the 
harbor of New York, 

New York was the most famous commercial mart in the United States 
early in the century, and has remained so. Her merchants suffered 

severely from the reckless foot- 
j ^:*fca(l ball-playing with the world's 

^^1 11 commerce, by Great Britain and 

'''";=^tJj^gS^^i3:]r7;: France, for several years. By 

'^^'^4z!iPv£jr Tu P iX ' " ^^^^ operation of British Orders 

~ '"■^^^'WB^^^^^rJ^^^<z~z. _ in Council, and Decrees issued 
:7~^^ZJ^ur^M^lit\\^' ^7 ^^^^ Emperor Napoleon, all 

"""""n Oln li^v lfl l iir'v"^^'^'"" American commerce in neutral 
— ^-t^^^^QOldSi^Si^EiP^r^— ships with either of the bellig- 
erent nations was suspended. 
Late in October, 1807, Con- 
FULTON THE FIRST.* grcss, as a countervailing meas- 

ure, laid an embargo on all ves- 
sels in the harbors of the United States. Tliese measures were disastrous 
to the mercantile and shipping interests of the whole country, and to that 
of the city of New York especially. The Federalists and many Demo- 
crats strenuously opposed the Embargo Act, but it was supported by 
most of the Democratic Party. The Federalists justified the British 
Orders in Council, and the Democrats justified the French Decrees. The 
Embargo Act M^as repealed early in 1800. Another embargo was laid in 
the spring of 1812. American commerce was now prostrated ; it was 
annihilated in the ensuing summer by the declaration of war against Great 
Britain. For several years the trading interests of New York City were 
subjected to many vicissitudes 

* Early in 1814 the first steamship of war was constructed at New York, at Noah 
Brown's ship-yard, and named Fulton the First. It was a sort of catamaran. The hull 
consisted of two boats, separated by a channel fifty feet wide. One boat containtxl the 
copper boiler for generatinj:; steam, llie other contained the machinery. The jiroix^lling 
wheel revolved in the space between them. A deck extended over the whole. The 
vessel was arrang(!d for sails. It was designed for harbor defence. The Fulton the F\rst 
made a trial-trip a .short distance at sea. She made six miles an hour with steam alone. 
She was only a floating battery. 



Meanwhile the political quarrels in the State of New York had raged 
with great violence. The schism in the Democratic Party continued, 
and jet that party was so powerful in numbers that it continued its 
domination in the State with continually increasing strength. One fac- 
tion was led chiefly by the Livingstons, and the other faction was led by 
De Witt Clinton and his friends. The Federal Party had fallen to rise 
no more into permanent existence. 

The chief cause of the overthrow of the Federal Party was the mis- 
takes made by earnest but injudicious leaders in taking occasions to show 
their partiality to the British nation.* This was natural in the fever 
of excitement, because the Democrats were more demonstrative in tokens 
of their partiality for the cause of Napoleon, then scourging Europe with 
liis armies. Besides, many Tories of the Revolution and their friends 
had become attached to the Federal Party, and so increased the animosity 
and the suspicions of the Democrats. 

Although Colonel Burr himself was j)olitically dead and buried, his 
friends, who formed a considerable faction, were very much alive and 
aggressive. There appears to be evidence that De Witt Clinton and his 
friends coquetted with the " Burrites," in order to gain their support in 
the warfare with Governor Lewis ; and that as Clinton had not the 
power at that time to give offices to Burr or his friends, it was proper 
that he should give " pecuniary" aid, through the medium of the Man- 
Iiattan Bank, of whicli Clinton was a prominent director. f The revela- 

* One instance will suffice to illustrate this point. Previous to celebrating the anniver- 
sary of independence at Albany, in 1805, the Common Council of that city, composed of 
a majority of Federalists, passed a resolution that the Declaration of Independence should 
not be read on that occasion, because the reading of that instrument, it was alleged, 
tended to perpetuate prejudices against the British nation, when the causes of hostility 
had long since ceased to exist. 

f Matthew L. Davis, the bosom friend and biographer of Colonel Burr, states in a 
pamphlet, composed of a series of letters published in a newspaper, over the signatures of 
"Marcus" and " Philo Cato," that in December, 1805, Levi McKean, a Burrite from 
Poughkeepsie, a neighbor and friend of General James Tallmadge, a zealous " Clintonian, ' ' 
arrived in New York, and stated to his political friends there that overtures had been 
made " by the Clintonians to form a union with the Burrites," and that he had conversed 
with General Bfdley, the postmaster, on the subject. Mr. Davis states that early in 
January, 1806, Colonel Swartwout, Burr's warm friend, accepted an invitation from 
General Bailej' to a personal interview, the latter avowing himself as the agent of De Witt 
Clinton ; that an agreement was made that : 

1. Colonel Burr should be recognized by the coalition as a Democrat. 

•2. That attacks upon him should cease, and that the Burrites should not be regarded 
as returning to the Democratic Party ; and 

3. That the friends of Burr should be placed on the same footing as the most favored 
Clintonians as respected appointments to offices of honor and profit throughout the State. 



tions of this coalition and its conditions produced intense indignation in 
the Democratic Party. At a meeting at Martling's Long Room (Tam- 
many Hall) it was denounced. Mr. Clinton was then in Albany. He 
wrote a letter to General Bailey, approving in general of the proceed- 
ings of the meeting, and declaring that the support of the Democratic 

Party by the Burrites would he 
universally agreeable, but it ought 
not to be purchased by a promise 
of offices. 

There being menaces of war 
between the United States and 
Great Britain, the governor, in his 
speech at the opening of the Leg- 
islature in 1806, urged the necessity 
of placing the State in a position of 
defence, for it would be exposed to 
attacks by land on the north and 
from the sea on the south. Yery lit- 
tle was then done to this end. The 
National Government built Fort 
Jay and Castle William on Govern- 
or's Island, in Xew York Harbor. 
In 1806 the Democrats elected Daniel D. Tompkins * Governor of 
the State of ISTew York, which position he held from 1807 until 1817. 
He filled the office with great distinction and efficiency during the trying 
times of the War of 1812-15. In 1808 the Democrats elected James 

Davis further stated that Clinton, with some friends, among them a zealous partisan of 
Burr, afterward met Colonel Swartwout at the house of General Bailey, when congratula- 
tions on the coalition were exchanged ; and tliat in February, at a supjx^r at a hotel near 
New York, the Clintonians and Burrites exchanged toasts and congratulations. 

When these letters appeared Mr. Clinton denied the truth of their allegations, and 
liublicly threatened to prosecute their author for libel. Mr. Davis gave notice that he 
could i>rove all his assertions. The case was never brought to trial. 

* Daniel D. Tompkins was born in Westchester County, N. Y., in June, 1774, and 
died on Staten Island in June, 1825. lie was educated at Columbia College ; became a 
lawyer, and in 1801 wiis a member of the convention that revised the State Constitution. 
He served in th(i 8tat(! r.egislature, and was a member of Congress in 1804-1805. He was 
made a judge of tlu; State Supreme Court in 1804 ; was chosen governor in 1806, and 
served ten consecutive years, and was elected Vice-President of the United Slates in 1816. 
lie was chanc-ellor of the University of the State of New Y^ork, and president of the 
convention, in 1831, which revised the State Constitution. He had reconuneiided, by a 
Bp<'cial message to th(! Legislature, the abolition of slavery in the State of New Y'ork. 
Owing to reports of crookedness in his public financial affairs, he failed to secure a nom- 
ination for the Presidency of the United States, for which he was an aspinint. 



Madison President of the United States, with George Clinton Vice- 
President. These gentlemen took their official seats in the spring of 

The great business depression, in consequence of the embargo and the 
quarrels of the Democratic factions, caused a temporary revival of the 
strength of the Federal Party, and at the spring election in 1809 they 
gained ascendency in the State of New York — the first time in ten years. 

The act repealing the Embargo Law went into effect on June 10th, 
1809. On that day thei'e were public rejoicings throughout the 
State, and particularly in the city of New York. But the jubilant 
feelings of the people were so(»n repressed by the peremptory refusal of 
the British Government to repeal the Orders in Council, in accordance 
with a treaty made with its accredited agent. This refusal caused intense 
indignation against the British authorities, which the Federalists were 
powerless to assuage. 




The great canal wliich bisects the State of New York, from the Hud- 
son River to Lake Erie, a distance of three hundred and sixty-three miles, 

is a monument of unsurpassed 
magnificence, connnemorative of 
the profound statesmanship, the 
prophetic wisdom, the far-reach- 
ing sagacity, and the exalted public 
spirit of the leaders of opinion in 
the State during the earher years 
of this century. 

AVho first conceived the grand 
idea of so wedding the great lakes 
and tiie beautiful river is an un- 
solved question. Undoubtedly it 
was nebulous in the minds of many 
thoughtful persons before it found 
symmetrical expression. Perhaps 
it was a dream of Joel Barlow the poet (who so early as the year 1787 
gave to the world his " Vision of Columbus") wlien he wrote : 

" He saw, as widely spreads th' inchannell'd plain, 
Where inland realms for ages bloom 'd in vain, 
Canals, long winding, ope a watery flight. 
And distant streams, and seas, and lakes unite. 

" From fair Albania, toward the setting sun, 
Back through the midland length'ning channels run ; 
And the fair lakes, their beauteous towns that lave. 
And Hudson's joined to fair Ohio's wave." 

A dozen years later Gouverneur Morris,* while he was on a tour to the 


* Gouverneur Morris was born at Morrisania, N. Y., in 1752, and died there in 
November, 1816. He was a son of Chief -Justice Lewis Morris ; was a graduate of King's 
College, and became a practising lawyer in 1771. In 1775 he was a delegate to the New 
York Provincial Congress, and one of the committee that drafted the State Constitution. 
From 1777 to 1780 he was a member of the Continental Congress, and was an efficient 
member of several committees. In 1780 he removed to Philadelphia, where, thrown 
from his carriage, his leg was fractured, and amputation was necessary. In 1786 he 


Falls of the J^iagara, uttered a few prophetic words in a letter to a friend 
in London. After alluding to tlie budding commerce on the lakes, and 
the probability that swarms of ships would appear there in the near 
future, he wrote : 

" Shall I lead your astonishment up to the verge of credulity ? I 
will. Know, then, that one-tenth part of the expense borne by Britain in 
the last campaign [against Bonaparte] would enable slups to sail /rom 
London through the Hudson River into Lake Erie^ 

To friends at home Morris suggested a direct canal from Lake Erie 
through the centre of the State to the Hudson. In 1803 he submitted 
an outline of a plan of such a work to Simeon De Witt, the Surveyor- 
General of the State, who regarded it as visionary. In conversation with 
James Geddes, a land surveyor of Onondaga County, the next year, De 
"Witt told him of the impracticable plan of Morris. Geddes viewed the 
matter in a different light. He regarded it as the best that had been 
suggested. He conferred with Jesse Hawley, a sagacious and public- 
spirited citizen of Central New York. The latter, satisfied of the feasi- 
bility of the project, wrote a series of essays on the subject, over the sig- 
nature of " Hercules." They were published in a Pittsburgh paper and 
in the Genesee Messenger^ at Canandaigua, during the years 1807 and 1808, 
and commanded wide and earnest attention. They were the first writ- 
ings ever put forth in favor of the Erie Canal. 

In 1808 Joshua Forman, an intimate associate of Mr. Geddes, was 
a member of the New York Assembly, and on February 4tli intro- 
duced a resolution, with a preamble, for the appointment of a joint 
committee to " take into consideration the propriety of exploring and 
causing an accurate survey to be made of the most eligible and direct 
route for a canal to open comnmnication between the waters of the 
Hudson River and Lake Erie, to the end that Congress may be enabled 
to appropriate such sums as may be necessary to the accomplishment of 
that great national object." * 

retired to the estate at Morrisania as sole owner. He was the colleague of Robert IVIorris, 
Superintendent of Finance in 1781. The literary construction of the National Constitu- 
tion is the work of his hands. He was sent minister to France in 1793, returned home 
in 1798, and was chosen senator in 1800. He was a canal commissioner from their first 
appointment until his death. In politics he wa.s a Federalist. 

* President Jefferson in his message to Congress, in December, 1807, proposed the 
application of the surplus funds in the National Treasury to the great national objects of 
opening canals and making turnpike roads. In his preamble Mr. Forman pointed out 
the fact that the State of New York possessed the best route of communication between 
the Atlantic and Western waters, " by means of a canal between the tide-water of the 
Hudson and Lake Erie. ' ' 


Tlie resolution was adopted, and the sum of $600 was appropriated for 
surveys to be made uuder the direction of the surveyor-general. This 
was the first legislative movement in reference to the Erie Canal. 

Surveyor- General De Witt employed Mr. Geddes to survey a rontc 
from Lake Erie to the Genesee Kiver, and thence to the waters Howing 
into Seneca Lake. His favorable report attracted great attention. De 
"Witt Clinton was then a member of the State Senate, and became deeply 
interested in the matter. He warmly espoused the project. So also 
did Stephen van Rensselaer in the Assembly. The matter rested until 
the next year, when, on motion of Senator Jonas Piatt, commissioners 
were appointed to explore the whole route for a canal through the centre 
of the State from Lake Erie to the Hudson liiver.* It was accom- 

In April, 1811, an act was passed to provide for the " improvement 
of the internal navigation of the State." Efforts were made to obtain 
aid from the National Government and otherwise. The conmiissioners 
were authorized to make application to Congress or to any State or 
Territory, and request them to co-operate with New York in the project. 
Ilobert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton were added to the commission. 

Early in December Messrs. Clinton and Morris appeared before Con- 
gress and endeavored to obtain an appropriation for the work, but were 
unsuccessful. This failure was a fortnnate circumstance, for it allowed 
the State of New York to construct the canal alone and unaided, and so 
to secure to itself the undivided honor of the achievement and the undis- 
puted possession and control of tlie great work for all time. The pride 
and patriotism of the people of the State were effectually appealed to, 
and in June, 1812, the Legislature passed an act authorizing the com- 
missioners to borrow $5,000,000 on the credit of the State. But the 
war with Great Britain, which broke out at that time, caused a suspen- 
sion of the work, and the law was repealed in 1814. 

A few montlis after the restoration of peace the subject was revived. 
By the exertions of Thomas Eddy f a public meeting was held at New 

* The commisskmers were Gouverneur Morris, Stephen van Rensselaer, De Witt 
Clinton, Simeon De Witt, William North, Thomas Eddy, and Peter B. Porter. 

f Thomas Eddy was a philanthropist and an eminently public-spiritetl man. He was 
born in Philadelphia in September, 1758, and died in New York City in 1827. His 
parents were Quakers, and he, a birthright member, remained so until his death. He 
made New York his residence in early life, and was a sueces-sful insurance broker there 
Mr. Eddy was active in oriijinatinij the "Penitentiary System" of New York, and iu 
1801 he published an admirable work on the State prisons of New York. He was lon<r 
a governor of the New York Hospital, and a director of the Rloomin-jdale Asylum for 
the In.sane. Mr. Eddy was one of the chief promoteis of the canal system in the State of 



York in the autumn of 1815, wliicli was. addressed by Mr. Piatt, Mr. 
Clinton, and otliers. The latter more vigorously than ever pressed upon 
the public attention the importance of constructing the projected canal. 
He devoted his wonderful energies to the subject. In a memorial of the 
citizens of New York, prepared by Mr. Clinton, such a powerful argu- 
ment in its favor was produced that not only the majority of the people 
of his State approved it, but of other States. Favorable action was 
taken by the Legislature of New 
York in the spring of 1816, and a 
Board of Canal Commissioners was 

In the spring of 1817 the Legis- 
lature authorized the beginning of 
the construction of tlie canal. The 
iirst contract was made in June, 
and the first spadeful of earth 
in the process of excavation was 
thrown up at Rome, Oneida Coun- 
ty, on July 4th. The middle sec- 
tion, extending from the Seneca 
River to Utica, including a branch 
from Syracuse to Onondaga Lake, 
was rendered navigable in October, 
1819. The great work was com- 
pleted in 1825, and the first boat — the Seneca Chief — with Mr. Clinton, 
then Governor of the State, on board, passed from Lake Erie to the 
Hudson late in the autumn of that year. The entire cost of the canal 
"was over $9,000,000 It was a little over eight years a-building. 

De Witt Clinton* had taken his seat as Governor of the State in the 
summer of 1817. He used all his official and private influence in favor 

New York, beginning with the Inland Lock Navigation system. The Bible Society 
found in him an efficient friend, and he was an originator and promoter of banks for 
savings. His benevolent works won for him the title of the ' ' American Howard. ' ' He 
lived to see the great Erie Canal in successful operation. 

* De Witt Clinton, son of General James Clinton, was born at Little Britain, Orange 
County, N. Y., March 2d, 1769 ; died at Albany, February 11th, 1838. Was gradu- 
ated at Columbia College, and became a lawyer, but practised his profession very little. 
He was for a long time private secretary to his uncle. Governor George Clinton ; served in 
both branches of the New York Legislature, and from 1798 to 1803 was the Democratic 
leader in the State Senate. Between 1803 and 1814 he served as Mayor of New York City 
eight years. He took a very active part in promoting public education ; was one of the 
founders of the New York Historical Society and of the Academy of Fine Arts, and, 
laemg opposed to the War of 1812-15, he was the peace candidate for President of the 



of the canal. There was continual and powerful opposition to the proj- 
ect almost to the hour of its completion ; but his faith in its vast impor- 
tance to his native State and the whole country never wavered. He lived 
not only to see it completed and to be a participant in the triumph, but 
to enjoy most abundant demonstration of the wisdom and sagacity vvhicii 
had conceived and carried out to completion that mighty work. To De 
Witt Clinton more tlian to any other man our country is indebted for 
the Erie Canal ; and the city of JS"ew York owes him a debt of gratitude 
it can never repay for its wonderful growth in wealth and population to 
which that great work so powerfully contributed. It is not creditable 
to the citizens of the metropolis that among the many statues of eminent 
Americans and foreigners which appear in their public places no 
memorial of stone or bronze has ever been erected in their city in com- 
memoration of their great benefactor, De Wirr Clinton. 

At the beginning of 1810 the two great political parties in the State of 
!New York were nearly equal in numerical strength. The Democrats 
renominated Tompkins for governor, and the Federalists nominated 
Jonas Piatt, of Oneida, for the same office. The canvass was very 
active, and the election was hotly contested. The Federalists felt that 
if Tompkins should be re-elected their recently gained political ascend- 
ancy in the State might be lost, perhaps forever. Yet they had strong 
hopes of their success. Their opponents were doubtful of the result, 
and both parties struggled mightily for victory. Contrary to the expec- 
tation of both, the Democrats completely overthrew the Federalists. 
Tompkins was re-elected by ten thousand majority. The Legislature 
was made strongly Democratic. A new Council of Appointment was 
chosen, and very soon there was an entire change in the incumbency of 
oflSces throughout the State. Political proscription was sweeping and 

Three causes combined to effect this second overthrow of the Federal 
Party in the State at this time —namely, 1. The adoption by the National 
Government of the more acceptable policy of non-intercourse instead of 
embargoes ; 2. The rapidly growing feeling of hostility to Great Britain 
because of recent events, the germ of a war party having already 
appeared ; and, 3. The influence of the patronage wielded by the 
National Govermnent. 

The quarrel between De Witt Clinton and a portion of the Democratic 

United States in 1812, but was defeated by Madison. Mr. Clinton was one of the 
founders of the Litenuy and Pliilosophical Society of New York, and the most efficient 
promoter of the construction of tlic Erie Canal. Ue was Governor of the State in 1817-23 
and 1824-28. 


Party in the city of jSTevv York, who made Martling's Long Room (then 
beginning to be known as " Tammany Hall ") their rallying-place, was 
then as bitter as ever. Early in 1811 Clinton was nominated for lieu- 
tenant-governor. The " Martling Men," or " Tammanj^tes," nominated 
Colonel Marinus Willett, and the Federalists nominated Colonel Nicholas 
Fish. A majority of the Martling men evidently voted for Fish in 
order to defeat Clinton. The latter received in the city only 590 votes, 
and Willett 678, while Fish received 2044. The Federalists carried the 
Assembly ticket by a majority of 1400. The vote in the State was gen- 
erally favorable to the Democrats. Clinton was elected by the country 

The year 1812 was made memorable in our history by the beginning 
of a two years' war between the United States and Great Britain. For 
several years incitements to this result had abounded. The British main- 
tained the doctrine that a British subject can never become an alien, and 
they claimed the right to search neutral vessels for deserters from the 
royal navy, and to carry them away and impress them into the naval 
service of Great Britain without hindrance. The commanders of British 
cruisers had practically asserted this right for many years, and thousands 
of xYmerican seamen had been taken from American vessels on the pre- 
tence that they were suspected deserters, and compelled to serve under 
a flag which they detested. To every earnest remonstrance through the 
voice of diplomacy the invariable answer had been : "It is our ancient 
custom, and we cannot consent to suspend a right upon which the naval 
strength of the empire mainly depends ;" and, governed by the ethics 
of the mailed hand — " might makes right" — they persisted. 

The affair of the Chesapeake and Leopard^ in 1807, in which the 
ofl^icers of the latter (a British frigate) forcibly boarded the former (an 
American frigate) and carried off some seamen, one an American, under 
pretence that they were deserters, aroused a war spirit in the United 
States. It was again awakened in ISOt) by the disavowal by the British 
Government of an arrangement made in good faith with the British 
Minister at Washington concerning a repeal of an Order in Council, 
already alluded to ; and again in 1811, when British cruisers were sent 
to prowl along the American coast with authority to seize American 
merchant vessels and send them to England as lawful prizes. 

These recent outrages, coupled with those of the past, and that of 
inciting the Indians in the North-west to make war on the frontier settle- 
ments of the United States beyond the Ohio River, became unendurable. 
On June 20tli, 1812, President Madison, by the authority of Congress, 
issued a declaration of war against Great Britain, and Congress made 


provision accordingly. A large majority of that body and